What is lumbar puncture?
It is a minor bedside procedure to collect a sample of fluid that surrounds the spinal cord (cerebrospinal fluid or CSF)). A thin, hollow needle is inserted into your lower back and CSF is withdrawn. The point of insertion would be made numb with a local anaesthetic agent to minimise pain. You are conscious throughout the procedure.
A lumbar puncture is performed to:
Is this a common procedure?
Yes. From a medical point of view, it is a relatively simple procedure yet a powerful diagnostic tool to help your doctor diagnose your condition and select the appropriate treatment. This procedure is usually done at your bedside, and in some instances at the x-ray department.
What are the risks involved?
Pain during placement
What happens during the procedure?
You will be asked to lie on your side in a curled-up position, with your chin and knees tucked into your chest. In this position, the space between the vertebrae of your lower spine is increased so that it would be easier to thread in the thin needle.
Next, the doctor chooses the insertion site, which is between the L4 and L5 vertebrae at your lower back.
After the procedure, you should lie on your back to rest for a period until you feel well enough to get up.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Can I eat or drink or take my medications before this procedure?
How do I prepare for this test?