Lumbar puncture (spinal tap) is performed in your lower back, in the lumbar region. During lumbar puncture, a needle is inserted between two lumbar bones (vertebrae) to remove a sample of cerebrospinal fluid — the fluid that surrounds your brain and spinal cord to protect them from injury.
A lumbar puncture can help diagnose serious infections, such as meningitis; other disorders of the central nervous system, such as Guillain-Barre syndrome and multiple sclerosis; or cancers of the brain or spinal cord. Sometimes doctors use lumbar puncture to inject anesthetic medications or chemotherapy drugs into the cerebrospinal fluid.
Dec. 06, 2014
- Lumbar puncture. Radiological Society of North America. http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=SpinalTap. Accessed Nov. 10, 2014.
- CSF Analysis. Lab Tests Online. http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/csf/csf-exams. Accessed Nov. 10, 2014.
- Lumbar puncture (taking a sample of fluid from around the spinal cord). American Thoracic Society. http://www.thoracic.org/clinical/critical-care/patient-information/icu-devices-and-procedures/lumbar-puncture-taking-a-sample-of-fluid-from-around-the-spinal-cord.php. Accessed Nov. 10, 2014.
- Pfenninger JL, et al. Pfenninger and Fowler's Procedures for Primary Care. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2011. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 10, 2014.
- Swanson JW (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 13, 2014.