What is a Lumbar Puncture?
A lumbar puncture or a spinal tap is a procedure in which doctors draw out a small amount of cerebrospinal fluid CSF from the vertebral canal.
The CSF is a fluid that surrounds the brain and the spinal cord and serves the following functions:
- Protecting the brain from trauma
- Providing Nourishment of the brain
- Removing wastes from the brain
During any neurological disease, the composition of CSF can become altered, which makes it a diagnostic tool for doctors. The Best Neurologist in Lahore can guide you if you have any neurological disease or if you need a lumbar puncture or not.
When is a lumbar puncture done?
A lumbar puncture can be done to diagnose different diseases such as:
- Meningitis: This refers to infection of the layers surrounding the brain.
- Encephalitis: It is a condition in which the brain tissue becomes inflamed. It occurs most of the time due to viruses.
- Subarachnoid hemorrhage: In this condition, there is bleeding around the brain, which can be fatal, if not treated on time.
- Leukemia: This refers to cancer of the blood cells.
- Multiple Sclerosis: It is a disease in which the body’s immune cells attack a layer that protects the nerves, causing damage to the nerves.
A lumbar puncture can also be used for treatment purposes, such as:
- For treating Hydrocephalus: It is a condition in which there is an excess accumulation of CSF. Doctors may use a lumbar puncture as a treatment strategy to remove excess CSF and relieve symptoms.
- For administering medications: Doctors can use a lumbar puncture to inject medications in the vertebral canal so that the medication can directly act on the nervous system. Doctors may use this route to give anesthesia, antibiotics, or cancer medications.
How is a lumbar puncture performed?
A lumbar puncture is performed in the hospital. The doctor may ask you to lie down with knees tucked to the chest or sitting with your back arched.
Your doctor will then use an aseptic to clean the needle insertion site and a local anesthetic to numb the injection site to reduce pain.
A hollow needle is inserted in the lower back, between two vertebrae, and the doctor pushes it inwards. You may feel a little pain during this process.
The CSF starts to trickle out from the needle, and the doctor uses a sterile container to collect it.
The doctor then withdraws the needle, and the injection site is covered with a bandage.
The collected CSF is sent to the laboratory for analysis.
Tell your doctor right away if you feel any discomfort, dizziness, or numbness during or after the procedure.
What to expect after a lumbar puncture?
The doctor may advise you to stay in the hospital for some hours and check if you are experiencing any adverse effects. It is advised to rest well and stay hydrated after a lumbar puncture.
A lumbar puncture does not usually carry significant risk, and there are no complications. However, you may experience some side effects such as:
- Back pain
- Increased heart rate
- Bleeding from the puncture site
A lumbar puncture is an effective procedure to diagnose and treat different neurological conditions. The process can be uncomfortable for some people, but serious complications are rare.
Your doctor will try their best to avoid any pain and discomfort during the procedure. If you have any neurological condition, you can visit oladoc.com to find the best neurologist in your city.