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Discogram gone bad ? Need help

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:19 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

I had an unsucessful Discogram (attempted they labeled it) on 7/15 and within 12 hours my pain escalated and began to worsen. I phoned the doctor who performed the procedure as directed and had no response, so attempted to call my back surgeon (both on Wednesday morning -their day off) when I got no response and was phyiscally able to sit, stand or move without intense pain radiating through my back and left leg I called my primary who directly admitted me to the hospital on Thursday morning 45 minutes after I talked to him.
I was put on Daulidin(sp) and was starting to feel better with the surgeon nor the PM doctor coming to see me until Saturday night. The Surgeon felt that I should be taken off the Daulidin immediately and put me back on Vicodin ES which I take at home and scheduled me for release in the morning. I had only been on the Vicodin for not even 12 hours (and crappy night nurses) and felt that maybe the medicine wasn't doing the job but thought give it a chance. I've been home for 36 hours and I'm in as much pain as I was when I went into the hospital.

Help - I don't know what to do.
2 lamenectomies L5-S1 (98 and 2002)
1 Spinal fusion L5-S1 (May 2006)
Hardware removal at L5S1 (Nov 2007)
*Told herniation at L4-5S1 but needed to discogram for confirmation of pain source.




  • sorry to hear of your dilemma. Maybe you should call your GP or go to the emergency room. Did they do any testing while you were in the hospital? There is an infection that you can get in the disc which is very painful. Did they test for that?
  • They only did Xrays (PAINFUL) and some blood tests. I'm going to give it one more day then call the docs again (before Wednesday!!!). Thank God for my GP who responds 24x7x365
  • that sounds like a good plan. If the pain gets too unbearable go to the ER. At least they can give you an injection for the pain. Are you saying that the discogram itself caused no pain but later you experience severe pain? Did your surgeon perform the discogram? If so, and this continues I would get another doc to take a look. lots of times surgeons do not like to admit when they screwed up. Good Luck and please keep us posted with the outcome.
  • back and re-read your post. I would fire both docs that did not bother to respond to you until 2 days after your admission. That is definitely not a good sign. The doc that performed the disco may have done something wrong when he was in there. I have never heard of an attempted discogram. Either it causes pain and confirms the disc or it does not cause pain and it is not the disc. Red flags going up in my mind.
  • Hello,

    I have no idea what constitutes an unsuccessful discogram; I thought if pain was produced, that was an answer... I had a discogram in January, performed at 3 levels of my spine. It was an excruciating procedure, comparable to the three radiofrequency/ rhizotomy treatments I'd previously endured. My pain was intense for 3 weeks after the discogram. When I called to complain my neurologist was surprised, because he said that he'd injected the epidural pain reliever at the end of the procedure for the very purpose of minimizing the inevitable discomfort. After they received the contrast ct scans done that day he understood the reason for my pain; the worst disc, the disc confirmed as the trouble source in the discogram, was so degenerated that the medicine injected flowed straight out....

    I just had ALIF surgery on 6/27 and one of the great shocks to me has been the fact that the weeks after my discogram were worse than my pain after major surgery!

    Good luck,
  • At least I feel like I'm not crazy. I did have some increased pain post discogram but since I've had one of these before I expected it, but when it increased along with the shocking/electrifying pain in the leg when standing or sitting I knew I wasn't right.
    As to the discogram - they never got to the CT portion because everytime they would get to the disc and begin pressurization I would be screaming and crying in pain and so they would pull back. So they marked it "attempted".
    I had some minor nauseau for thepast few days and I see its now getting worse. I am calling my GP as I found out that my surgeon (not the discographer) is cutting back hours due to an illness and I have an appt with a new doctor on thursday but I can tell I am just not right. I am not hungry, the pain meds aren't affective and I am having nausea just by sipping water and have a touch of diarrhea for the past 24 hours.

    Thank you all. For being ther for me!
  • Dear Peggy,

    When I wrote last night, I was getting ready for bed and in 'serious response' mode. I focused on telling what had happened to me, just hoping it would help. What I didn't say is, I'm super sorry to hear about your pain, and I completely empathize....

    I, too, was giving the surgeon very vocal and tearful responses during my discogram, but the pain was only produced severely at 1 level, with a hint at a second. They'd told me that success would be pain; what I didn't expect was that it would take my regular pain off the chart! In good faith, I don't think he expected it either, since he put the epidural in at the end (which, like I said above, I didn't know at the time).

    I never had nausea after the discogram, but I did have a lot of pain radiating the entire right side of my body from my back down. It also aggravated the general arthritis in my back and made me much more stiff overall. And I hurt like that for about 3 weeks... My silver lining was that they took the ct scan images immediately after the discogram, so they could get the super high resolution imaging immediately (I have a pacemaker so for years doctors relied on fuzzy images to interpret what was happening in my spine because I couldn't have an MRI).

    I always think it's fair to consider another doctor; I can't believe they didn't do your ct scan at the time! I don't know where you're being treated, but my doctor's are at the Emory Spine Center in Atlanta and they've been phenomenal; my neurologist couldn't quickly eliminate my post-discogram pain, but at least he and his staff were sympathetic....

    My other silver lining: I was really apprehensive about having the ALIF surgery. Like Gary Cooper said in the movie Sgt. York, 'the Lord sure does work in mysterious ways.' My post ALIF pain's been a walk in the park compared to the discogram!

    You're in my thoughts,
  • Hi Peg. So sorry for what you have been through. I too had a very similar discogram experience. I have had a fusion in the past, but not even the pain of that surgery compared to the discogram pain. Like yourself, the pain got worse after the procedure and could not get out of bed. I called the doctor who performed the procedure who just increased my meds and told me it was expected. I should have gone to the ER as I should have not suffered like that. All I did for several days was take medication trying to sleep and lie on bags of ice. It took about two weeks before my pain returned back to where it usually is.
    I then return to the surgeon who ordered it and he said that he believed since it was positive for L4-S1 he was recommending a two level fusion. So I go to another doctor for a second opinion who tells me that discograms have a 30% chance of being wrong and didn't trust my results.
    I don't know how the first disc they did was negative because I had no idea they injected it, but when they injected the last two it created the EXACT pain I am having, so how is that possibly wrong. Also he threw the doctor who did it under the bus. I'll tell you now that I will NOT go through that again. So needless to say I am going to get a third opinion.
    I hope they help you. I agree in getting another physician if possible. I would have suspected since they could not inject your discs during the discogram that is why the CT was not performed. At least your other doctor helped you. I wish I were that persistant. Good luck.
  • I hope that your pain has eased up and if it hasn't then I agree that you should go straight back to the ER. It's crazy that you were sent home before you even had your pain under control!

    Good luck and I hope things settle down for you. Spicey
  • I hope that your pain has eased up and if it hasn't then I agree that you should go straight back to the ER. It's crazy that you were sent home before you even had your pain under control!

    Good luck and I hope things settle down for you. Spicey
  • First I'd like to thank everyone for your support - you have no idea how much it is appreciated and needed.

    After having almost 48 hours of complete misery and no return phone call from my surgeon (again) I called my GP and he put me back in the hospital on higher doses of pain and muscle relaxers which had helped minimize the spasms and pain with every movement. I saw three new docs and thought I had some home as two of the three thought I needed a nerve block - something called CAUSALGIC block. Where the pain is not from the disc but from the nerve and tissue. However when my GP talked with radiologist who did the discogram and who would have done the nerve block sat down and reviewed the pics they took during the disco gram and they feel surgery w/possible fusion is the answer and that the block would just be a temporary band aid.
    I am back home from the hospital and feeling a little bit better as long as I don't move too much and I'm going to need to use a cane so I don't put too much pressure on my left side and I'm going to need to research new surgeons as I found out my surgeon is sick and taking a leave of absence (perhaps maybe why he hasn't been responsive which is not like him).

    So I'm looking for orthopedic surgeons in the CHICAGO area with good track records. If anyone has some good recommendations please email me privately.
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