Lumbar Puncture

Monday, October 01, 2012

A lumbar puncture is a medical procedure where a sample of fluid is taken from inside the lower back for testing. Dr. Edward Hill explains more about lumbar punctures in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

A lumbar puncture, often called a spinal tap, is a common medical test that involves taking a small sample of cerebrospinal fluid for examination.

In a lumbar puncture, a needle is carefully inserted into the lower spine to collect the fluid sample.

A lumbar puncture can be done to help detect or rule out suspected diseases or conditions through analysis of the white blood cell count, glucose levels, protein and bacteria.

Special testing can look for certain bacteria and viruses, or find the presence of abnormal cells that can help identify specific diseases in the central nervous system.

Most lumbar punctures are done to test for meningitis, but they also can detect bleeding in the brain and certain conditions affecting the nervous system, such as Guillain-Barr syndrome and multiple sclerosis. Lumbar punctures also can deliver chemotherapy medications.

A lumbar puncture is considered a safe procedure with minimal risks. Most of the time, there are no complications. In some instances, a patient may get a headache.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.