Lumbar Puncture

Lumbar Puncture is the insertion of a needle between two bones (vertebrae) of the lower spine to obtain a sample of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Fluoroscopic and Computed Tomography (CT) Imaging may be required for accurate needle placement; on some occasions a combination of imaging may be required.

A specialist known as an Interventional Radiologist often performs these procedures.  The procedure is sometimes called a spinal tap.

Why do I need this procedure?

Your Doctor has asked for this test to be performed because you may experience some or all of the following;

  • Fever
  • Severe persistent headaches or neck stiffness
  • Loss of balance, clumsiness or lack of coordination
  • Ongoing confusion
  • Numbness, tingling or weakness in arms and/or legs
  • Headaches of Unknown Cause – after other avenues have been explored
  • Check for the presence of blood in the CSF
  • Measure the pressure of the CSF in the space surrounding the spinal cord

What should I expect?

  • The procedure can take between 20 – 60mins.
  • You may be required to take some time off work – please let the nurses know so they can organise a medical certificate for you. An attendance certificate can be provided for your carer on the day of your procedure.
  • Please make sure you have someone to pick you up after your procedure. You procedure will be cancelled if you don’t have an escort.  Please contact MIVIR as soon as possible if this cannot be arranged.

On the day of your Procedure

You will need to present to the Day Procedure Unit on the day of your procedure – your admission time will be sent to you with your appointment time.  This will allow the nurses time to complete your admission paperwork and any other tests that may be required such as blood tests or pre-medication.

You are not required to fast for this procedure, please maintain adequate fluid intake the day before your procedure date.  Please continue to take your blood pressure medication.  Please bring a list of your medications with you.

Please contact MIVIR if you are taking medication for the following;

  • Diabetes,
  • Stroke,
  • Heart Conditions such as a Heart Attack or Atrial Fibrillation.
Pre Procedure
Post Procedure
At Home