Every patient contemplating back treatment should first identify their pain source with an annulogram. Today, some physicians rely on the more primative discogram. MRIs are helpful in identifying bulges and degenerated discs but they are unable to identify disc tears. Today, physicians recommending fusions without annulograms or discograms lack insight, thus jeopardizing your long-term relief. This is why most people know someone who is no better following spine surgery, and one of many reasons for limited long-term success of fusions. Research confirms that even a minimally invasive discectomy may weaken your disc, accelerating disc degeneration.
What is an Annulogram?
Even if you've already suffered unsuccessful surgery, Dr. Pauza believes an annulogram is the best test to evaluate torn discs. It determines if your normal, or abnormal appearing discs are leaking. Often, neck pain and low back pain goes mistreated only because this gold standard test isn’t performed. Your discs are cushions between your spine's bones, which are like jelly filled doughnuts, with an outer layer surrounding a jelly-like substance. During an annulogram, water soluble contrast is injected into your disc. This identifies all disc tears, including those missed by the MRI.