gms | German Medical Science

54. Jahrestagung der Norddeutschen Orthopädenvereinigung e. V.

Norddeutsche Orthopädenvereinigung

16.06. bis 18.06.2005, Hamburg

Predictive value of discography procedures in lumbar degenerative disc diseases (DDD)

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author K. Thielke-Neitzel - Universitätsklinikum Göttingen, Orthopädie, Göttingen
  • T. Engelhardt - Göttingen
  • H. von Wilmsdorff - Göttingen
  • T. Ernstberger - Göttingen
  • F. König - Göttingen

Norddeutsche Orthopädenvereinigung. 54. Jahrestagung der Norddeutschen Orthopädenvereinigung e.V.. Hamburg, 16.-18.06.2005. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2005. Doc05novEP10

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: June 13, 2005

© 2005 Thielke-Neitzel et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.




In the past technical evolvement of imaging procedures gave more precise information concerning pathologic spine changes. High resolution imaging techniques however cannot replace a functional procedure.

Discography is a probable method to visualize disc pathologies.

More important for the practitioner is the information about source and quality of pain.

By doing the "distension test" and finding out about "memory pain" discography becomes a functional procedure.

Material and Methods

Since 1998 we examined 62 patients and 126 segments with discography. The lumbar disc segment was looked up under x-ray control. In local anaesthesia the disc was punctuated and a contrast media was given.


In 51 patients and 98 cases we observed memory pain. The distension test was positive 107 times. Degenerative changes of the discs were found in every examined patient. In 83% we could validate pathologic disc changes diagnosed in other imaging procedures.

The cause of complaints was found in 79%.

A preoperative decision concerning the number of segments to be fused could be made.


Still today discography helps us to find the right treatment of degenerative disc disease. Not only the decision about conservative or operative treatment can be made. Preoperative discography can determine the number of segments to be stabilized. A spondylodesis ending in a degenerated segment will lead to instability of the neighbouring segment.