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What is a Lumbar Puncture?
Your healthcare provider has requested that you undergo a lumbar puncture. Your symptoms or findings indicate that there is a need to evaluate the fluid around your spinal cord. A lumbar puncture is a means of collecting a small amount of that fluid for further evaluation.
How Should I Prepare?
You may be directed not to eat or drink anything for six hours prior to your procedure. You may take your medications as directed. Speak to your doctor if you need to adjust your insulin dosing. Prior to your procedure, you should make sure all medications and allergies are updated. If you are on a blood thinner you may be requested to stop that medication for a period of time. You will want to arrange for a ride home from a responsible adult afterwards should you require sedation.
How is the Procedure Performed?
The procedure will be performed by a qualified healthcare professional with specific training in Interventional Radiology. The procedure most likely will be performed under fluoroscopy (x-ray). Intravenous medications may be given to make you more comfortable and relaxed. This is called conscious sedation.
You will lie on your stomach on an x-ray table. The skin will be cleaned with a sterilizing solution and numbing medicine is injected into the skin. X-ray images will guide the placement of a thin needle into the targeted area. Spinal fluid will be collected through this needle and sent to the lab for evaluation. The needle is then removed and a sterile bandage applied.
What Should I Expect After the Procedure?
Following the procedure, you will be asked to lay on your back for 1-2 hours and monitored for any potential complications. It is recommended that you continue to lie flat at home for the remainder of the day if possible to help prevent a post-procedure headache.
Who Interprets the Results?
Following your lumbar puncture, the removed fluid will sent to the lab for further evaluation. The ordering physician will convey these results to you.