Provocation discography as a guide to planning operations on the spine

J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1988 Mar;70(2):267-71. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.70B2.2964449.


In a prospective study we attempted to define the role of lumbar discography in the investigation of patients with low back pain with or without non-dermatomal pain in the lower limb. The records of 195 patients were studied at least two years after a technically successful operation. Of 137 patients in whom discography had revealed disc disease and provoked symptoms, 89% derived significant and sustained clinical benefit from operation. Of 25 patients whose discs showed morphological abnormality but had no provocation of symptoms on discography only 52% had clinical success. These findings support the continued use of lumbar discography for the investigation of this particular group of patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Back Pain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc / diagnostic imaging*
  • Leg
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / diagnosis*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiography
  • Spinal Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Spine / surgery