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Does Discography Damage The Spinal Disc Making Disc Degeneration Worse?

Posted Jul 02 2009 6:10pm 2 Comments

San Francisco Chiropractor and Spinal Decompression Doctor Comments:

chiropractor san francisco Discography is a diagnostic test widely used to diagnose painful disc degeneration and help select candidates for surgery and other therapies that target the degenerated disc as the source of the underlying symptoms ( Lumbar Discography ).

A contrast medium is injected into the disc and a radiographic examination is performed to try and recreate the symptoms. The objective is to identify the exact location of spinal disc involvement. The findings often lead to spinal fusion surgeries. 

The thing is...several discs are injected during the procedure which was thought to be relatively safe up until now. Of course...any time you are injecting stuff into the body, especially a spinal disc...while at the same time exposing it to radiation, it' s probably not a good least in my opinion. award winning discography study conducted at Stanford University appears to have enormous implications for the future use of spinal discography which is currently used over 200,000 times per year in the US. Here is an excerpt from The Back Letter, Volume 24, #7, 2009:

Now, a new study by Eugene Carragee,

MD, and colleagues from Stanford questions

the safety of discography. (See

Carragee et al., 2009.) Ironically, a diagnostic

procedure designed to identify

painful disc degeneration appears to contribute

to the progression of that disease.

The Stanford researchers found that

discography speeds disc degeneration over

a seven- to 10-year follow-up period.

“Modern discography techniques using

small-gauge needles and limited pressurization

resulted in accelerated disc degeneration,

disc herniation, loss of disc height

and signal—and the development of reactive

endplate changes...,” according to the


“We showed that disc puncture, even

using modern discography techniques, led

to structural changes in the disc,” said

Carragee in presenting the study at the

annual meeting of the International Society

for the Study of the Lumbar Spine

(ISSLS) in Miami—-where it won the

ISSLS Award.

“Physicians should carefully consider

the risk and benefits of procedures involving

disc puncture,” said Dr. Carragee.

According to the 10 year follow-up study Discography actually damages the spinal disc and resulted in loss of disc height and signal, end plate (top and bottom of vertebrae) degenerative changes, and progression of degenerative disc disease (DDD)...the same problems Discography is supposed to help treat...Not Good.

 You can imagine the turmoil this is causing amongst spinal surgeons and radiologists...and some say there are holes in the study...I don' t know...I' m not surprised. I' ve never been a fan of discography.

DRX9000 San Francisco In fact, I have had many patients back out of the procedure and follow through with non-surgical spinal decompression at my San Francisco Chiropractic Center...and most were glad they did.

So...who knows how this will all turn out. Supposedly they are going to be slicing and dicing the research data to provide more answers...but in the meantime, caveat emptor.  

If you would like to find out if you are a candidate for nonsurgical spinal decompression with the DRX9000 at Executive Expresss Chiropractic in downtown San 415-392-2225.  

Comments (2)
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i have bone loss from my cancer treatments, im a 9yr.survivor and the late term effects of the radiation is hurting me my 5th lumbar disc is gone down to over half of its thickiness, my back doctor isnt doing anything about it, and i have trouble sitting/standing for aleast 30min. and i always have pressure and pain in my spine. can this be considered a disability?
i forgot to say i had colonrectal cancer stage t3c with 2tumors and took 25treatments of radiation,9months of5-fu chemo, i have a colostomy. i took mri and dr. says its from the radiation, i do have osteoporosis,scoliosis,sciatica,arthritis. i got cancer at 30 and now im 41.
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