DeKalb Medical performs the lumbar puncture procedure to draw fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. A lumbar puncture procedure is used to determine if an infection is present, to detect neurological disorders or to diagnose spinal damage. A lumbar puncture procedure also is referred to as a spinal tap.
A lumbar puncture procedure may be done to measure pressures within the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and/or to collect a sample of the fluid for further testing. CSF acts as a cushion, protecting the brain and spine from injury. The fluid normally is clear.
Fluoroscopy is used to help guide the needle that draws the fluid sample into the proper position using the lumbar puncture technique.
The laboratory will send the results from your lumbar puncture to your physician who will share the results with you.
Read more about lumbar puncture.
When having a lumbar puncture at DeKalb Medical, you should increase your fluid intake the day prior to your exam. Then after midnight you should not have anything to eat or drink. Continue to fast until your lumbar puncture procedure is complete. Ask your physician about any medications you are taking. If you are a diabetic, ask your physician for special instructions.
You will need to have someone drive you home after your procedure. Most lumbar puncture procedures last about one hour, although you need to arrive two hours before your test to register, obtain lab work and complete your medical history. After your procedure is complete you will stay an additional three to four hours for observation.
You will receive a local anesthetic to numb the area where a needle will be inserted into the spinal canal. You may feel pressure or a brief tingling sensation during insertion of the needle. Fluoroscopy is used to guide the needle into place.
When the needle is in place, the X-ray table may be tilted or you may be asked to move in different positions to allow the best collection of the spinal fluid. When enough fluid has been obtained for testing, the needle is removed and a bandage is placed over the needle site.
You will be transferred to a bed to lie flat and be observed and monitored by a nurse for the next three to four hours.
Occasionally you may get a headache after having a lumbar puncture. These tips may help reduce the chances of a headache:
Your physician will contact DeKalb Medical to schedule your lumbar puncture procedure for you.
If your lumbar puncture will be performed at DeKalb Medical at North Decatur, you will go to the hospital’s central registration area.
If your lumbar puncture is being performed at DeKalb Medical at Hillandale, go to the hospital’s registration area.