Postdiscography Care

After completion of each discographic examination, patients are advised to expect some pain and discomfort, lasting up to 4 days, especially during the first 36 hours. Patients are routinely given printed instructions regarding what to expect. They are warned that if they experience symptoms such as worsening pain, fever, chills, malaise, and night sweats within one week of the procedure, a disc infection could be developing, and they should call us immediately. Patients are urged to contact the discographer and/or assisting technologist, one of whom is on call at all times, to deal with any procedure-related complaints or questions. We discourage patients from visiting emergency rooms, since too often inexperienced physicians overdiagnose disc infection that is not in fact present. In our experience to date, we have confirmed only six cases of postdiscography disc infection in more than 12,000 patients and more than 40,000 injected discs.

Patients are given a nonrenewable narcotic prescription intended to last 3 to 4 days. If they have experienced muscle spasms, a muscle relaxant is also provided. They are kept at our facility for at least 20 minutes after the procedure. All postdiscography patients are called 2 to 5 days later to check on their status.

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Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

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