More Discography Side Effects-The Medications Used in Discography May Help Discs Degenerate!

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discography side effects

Discography side effects? It’s been a bad couple of years for common pain management medications. The epidural steroids commonly injected to reduce swelling around nerves have been shown to dramatically quicken the pace of bone loss. The AAOS has put out a warning on Marcaine (bupivicaine), the most common anesthetic used in pain management, because it kills cartilage cells. Now a new study shows that the medications commonly used in discography (where x-ray dye is injected into spinal discs to see if they hurt or leak) is toxic to the cells inside the discs. This new study fits with a controversial study by Caragee that came out a few years back that associated discs tested with discography with more degeneration. Basically, the pain management world has been turned on it’s head! The researchers took 12 animal discs and exposed them to the commonly used contrast dye, steroid, and anesthetic. There was decreased cell proliferation in all medications with the lidocaine treated group showing signs of internal problems. The study authors felt that all three medications might interfere with the disc’s ability to maintain and repair itself  fitting with Caragee’s paper that discography may cause good discs to go bad. This new study also fits with one from last year about a common radiographic contrast agent and concluding that it hurt live human disc cells recovered during surgery. The upshot? I think there’s enough evidence now to make this statement (which I know that I’ll get flack for making): “Steroids and certain common local anesthetics are cellular toxic materials, avoid where possible!” In particular, of concern, despite the AAOS warning last year, we still see patients walking into our office who are getting their joints injected with Marcaine.

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