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Discogram on fused level

I'm curious if anyone here has ever had or heard of having a discogram performed on a level that is already fused? I've had discograms done in the past but both times they were done prior to having fusions done. My medical knowledge is lacking so maybe I'm just missing something but I don't understand how exactly a discogram can be done on a level where there is no disc.

This is my first post so I'll provide a little (or lot of) background information leading up to the surgeon I am currently seeing recommending a discogram. I am 34 years old and have had a few back surgeries done in the past 12 years which started with a fusion after an MRI showed a rupture at the L5-S1 level. Roughly 8 years after having what seemed to be a successful fusion I started having some more issues which resulted in further surgeries starting with a discectomy at L4-L5 followed by having the hardware removed from the previous L5-S1 fusion and ultimately had a fusion performed at the L4-L5 level. This latest round of surgeries didn't work as hoped so we decided to implant a spinal cord stimulator. After the trial period of the SCS the doctor I was seeing implanted it using the needle method but that led to placement issues so the surgeon I was seeing at the time took the leads out and surgically implanted paddle leads. I never got much relief from the stimulator and I started having further issues with my low back so on the suggestion of my primary care physician I went to a different surgeon who is also the surgeon I am currently seeing. A myelogram was ordered and it showed that the fusion at the L5-S1 level is now broken and a screw from the fusion at the L4-L5 level is driven into the bone in the L3 region. In light of this latest development it was decided to remove the now unused SCS so that an MRI could be ordered prior to fixing the busted fusion and removing the screw.

I recently had a visit with the surgeon to discuss the MRI and supposedly schedule the surgery but instead he ordered a discogram of the L5-S1 level and said we'll see what that shows and then decide what needs to be done after that. So now I'm waiting for my pain management doctor to call me with a date for the discogram and wondering how this is going to work. I'm a little worried that I will go in for the discogram and there will be issues performing the procedure so this why I'm here asking if anyone has had this done on a fused level. I've been browsing this forum for at least the past year and have gotten quite a bit of helpful information so in my current state of confusion I feel behooved to impose upon your collective knowledge. Thank you for reading my long winded and possibly over descriptive question and I appreciate having been able to learn from various members experiences.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Please take the time to read this post and refer to it when you have questions

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    Ron DiLauro

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
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