In this procedure, the doctor samples the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from your lower back. CSF is the fluid the brain and spinal cord sit in. It provides protection and nutrition to the brain and nerve cells. This fluid also helps to remove waste products from the brain.
Local anesthesia—just a small area is numbed; given as an injection
Description of Procedure
You will lie on your side with your knees drawn up to your abdomen. Sometimes, the procedure is done while you sit on the edge of the bed. A needle will be inserted into the spinal canal through the lower back. The doctor will take a sample of CSF through the needle. The pressure of the CSF will be measured. If you have discomfort, the needle may need to be repositioned. It may take several minutes for the doctor to collect all the fluid he needs. Once the doctor is done, the needle will be taken out, and a dressing will be placed.
Immediately After Procedure
You will lie down for 10-15 minutes. Unless you have a severe headache, you will be able to go home.
How Long Will It Take?
About 30-45 minutes from setup to completion
Will It Hurt?
Discomfort is minimal to moderate. The anesthetic will sting when first injected.
When you return home after the procedure, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
Drink extra fluids for the next 24 hours.
Rest and remain quiet for at least 24 hours.
Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions.
Call Your Doctor
After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
Severe headache or headache lasting for more than 24 hours
Nausea or vomiting
Signs of infection, including fever and chills
Redness, swelling, increasing pain, bleeding, or discharge from the lumbar puncture site
Numbness, tingling, or pain in your lower back or legs
Problems with urination or defecation
A stiff neck
Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you have been given
Adams RD, Victor M, Ropper AH. Disturbances of cerebrospinal fluid and its circulation, including hydrocephalus and meningeal reactions. In: Adams RD, Victor M, Ropper AH. Pinciples of neurology. San Francisco: McGraw-Hill; 1997:623-641.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a