Lumbar Puncture


A lumbar puncture (spinal tap) is performed in your lower back, or your lumbar spine. It involves extracting a sample of cerebrospinal fluid, liquid found in your spinal cord and brain, to help in the diagnosis of serious infections, such as meningitis, and other disorders of the central nervous system. When necessary, it may also be used to relieve pressure of the cerebrospinal fluid or administer medicine.


Your doctor will ask you not to eat or drink anything from midnight onwards prior to the exam. As always, make sure you communicate any medications that you are taking, existing conditions, and concerns with your physician.

The lumbar puncture will be taken while you are in a curled position, either leaning forward or laying on your side. The entirety of the procedure takes about 30 minutes and there may be some stinging or discomfort where the needle is inserted. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids and avoid intense activity for 24 hours after the procedure. Communicate any pain or discomfort with doctor.

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