Lumbur Puncture (Spinal Tap)
Lumbar puncture or spinal tap is a procedure in which the lower back – the lumbar region, is punctured to get a sample of the fluid. During the procedure, a needle is inserted between two lumbar vertebrae and a sample of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is collected. CSF is the fluid that surrounds and bathes the brain and the spinal cord to protect them from injury.
How is Lumbar Puncture done?
Lumbar Puncture usually takes around 45 minutes. At the start, a local anesthetic is injected into the lumbar region of the spine to numb the area before the needle is inserted. A thin needle is inserted between two vertebrae in the lumbar region, into the spinal canal. The patient may feel some pressure in the back when the fluid is being taken.
At first, the cerebrospinal fluid pressure is measured, and then a small amount of CSF is taken after which the pressure is measured again. If required, a drug or substance is injected. The needle is then removed, and the puncture site is bandaged.
Why is Lumbar Puncture done?
- Collect cerebrospinal fluid
- Measure cerebrospinal fluid pressure
- Control CSF pressure and relax brain during surgery
- Inject medications, like spinal anesthetics, chemotherapy drugs, etc.
- Inject dye or radioactive substances into CSF to get diagnostic images of the fluid’s flow
- Treat or relieve hydrocephalus
Lumbar Puncture results can help diagnose
- Bacterial, fungal and viral infections surrounding the brain and spinal cord, like meningitis
- Bleeding around the brain
- Tumors and cancers
- Autoimmune disorders, like multiple sclerosis
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