A lumbar puncture (spinal tap) is performed to obtain cerebrospinal fluid (CSF – the naturally occurring fluid that bathes the spinal cord) from the spinal column, usually to evaluate for the presence of infection (as in meningitis), but it can also detect other conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barre syndrome or cancer involving the spinal cord. In some instances, a lumbar puncture is a treatment; medicines and anesthetics can be placed in the cerebrospinal fluid via lumbar puncture, or it can be used to lower the pressure in the brain caused when too much fluid is present.
Here’s a video that would be helpful to view before you or a family member has a lumbar puncture. It is provided courtesy of Cure Search for Children’s Cancer.
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