The procedure begins with the patient in a face-down position on their stomach. The patient is awake and a local anesthetic is used to make the procedure more comfortable. A type of live x-ray, also known as a fluoroscopy helps the physician ensure accurate placement of the contrast dye. Once that has been achieved, the patient will participate in a pre-scheduled CT study to determine if the dye has spread outside the confines of the disc. Should the dye spread, it means that the disc is damaged and may be the source of the pain. During the study, if the disc is the cause of the chronic pain symptoms, the patient will feel a pain that is similar to their daily pain during the course of the injection. At this time, the physician will ask the patient to rate their pain on a scale of 1 to 10.
At the end of the procedure, the needle will be removed and a small bandage will be placed over the injection site. The patient will be monitored in the office for a short time and released to go home to rest. They will need a caretaker to drive them home. This outpatient procedure takes approximately 30 minutes at The Spine & Pain Center office and patients are able to return to normal activities the following day.