Xiaodong Huang, Weiheng Wang, Qingxi Meng, Lei Yu, Chunquan Fan, Jiangming Yu, Mintao Xue, Xiaojian Ye

May 2019, Volume 28, Issue 5, pp 1014 - 1022 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-019-05927-0

First Online: 12 March 2019


Discography can increase disc degeneration, but the influence of different discography variables on the degeneration of discs has not been reported. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of discography variables of needle diameter, type of contrast agent and volume of contrast agent on disc degeneration.


Three separate experiments examined needle diameter, and type and volume of contrast agent. Coccygeal discs (Co7-10) adult male rats were used. X-rays were used to detect the disc height degeneration index at 1, 2 and 4 weeks after the procedure. MRI was used to study the changes in the disc structure and the signal intensity of IVD 2 and 4 weeks after the procedure. Disc water content and histology were measured at 4 weeks after the procedure.


A 21-g needle significantly increased disc degeneration when compared with the 30-g needle as detected by X-ray, MRI, disc water content and histology (P 


To reduce disc degeneration after discography, it may be best to choose a smaller needle size, minimize the use of contrast agent and use non-ionic contrast agents with osmotic pressure similar to the intervertebral disc.

Graphical abstract

These slides can be retrieved under Electronic Supplementary Material.[Figure not available: see fulltext.]

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