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Lumbar Puncture
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Lumbar Puncture?

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.

Lumbar Puncture Method
Lumbar Puncture Method
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A lumbar puncture may be done when the following conditions are suspected:

  • Brain infection, or infection of the layers around the brain
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Any disorder affecting the nervous system
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Bleeding in the brain or spinal cord
  • Excess CSF in the brain

The procedure may also be done to:

  • Administer dye for imaging studies
  • Drain CSF to lower pressure within the brain
  • Administer medicines (eg, chemotherapy , antibiotics, anesthesia )

Possible Complications

If you are planning to have a lumbar puncture, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Headache
  • Backache
  • Bleeding
  • Pain or abnormal burning, pricking, or tingling sensations in legs
  • Allergic reaction to anesthetic
  • Infection

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...