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Comparison of four different analgesic discogram protocols comparing the incidence of reported pain relief following local anesthetic injection into concordantly painful lumbar intervertebral discs.

Pain Medicine 2012 December
OBJECTIVE: To compare the incidence of pain relief following injection of local anesthetic (LA) into lumbar discs that caused concordant pain during provocation testing.

DESIGN: Prospective collected data review from two centers and compare with published results.

OUTCOME MEASURES: We compared subjective reported pain relief following provocative testing using the following protocols at three separate facilities: 23 patients undergoing routine provocative discography using contrast alone (PD); 47 patients undergoing provocative discography performed using an equal combination of LA and contrast (CPD); 120 patients injected with LA following routine PD (ADPD); 33 patients undergoing stand-alone analgesic discography (SAAD); and 28 patients injected with LA through a catheter (FAD) placed during provocative discogaphy testing.

RESULTS: Pressure-controlled PD showed a positive response rate of 34% per disc in patients with a clinical diagnosis of discogenic pain. None of the PD group without LA had pain relief and less than 10% of the CPD group reported pain relief. Forty percent of the SAAD group with positive pain reproduction reported ≥50% relief and 20% reporting ≥80% relief. Forty-six percent of the ADPD group reported ≥50% relief and 30% reporting ≥80% relief. The FAD group had a greater 80% patients reporting ≥50% pain relief although fewer 26% reporting more convincing ≥80% relief.

CONCLUSIONS: If the criterion standard to confirm painful annular tears is concordant pain provocation and 80% or greater pain relief following LA injected into lumbar discs, the SAAD, ADPD, and FAD protocols show statistically similar 20% to 30% prevelance.

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