Lupus Site - a guide for lupus patients and their families



Lumbar Puncture (spinal tap)


A lumbar puncture is a diagnostic test in which cerebrospinal fluid is extracted for examination & the pressure of the spinal column is measured, by inserting a needle into the spinal cord.

You will need to lie in the foetal position & clasp your hands on your knees.
The area where the needle is to be inserted is cleaned and medication is injected to provide local anesthesia.
A person may feel a burning sensation for a few seconds while the medication is administered.
A spinal needle will then be inserted through the skin & into the spinal canal.
You will be asked to relax and straighten your legs.
The needle will be attached to a manometer and the pressure in the canal will be measured.
Fluid will then be extracted & the pressure measured again.
The procedure generally lasts 15 to 20 minutes.
The procedure is uncomfortable & can be painful.
You may need to lie flat for 2 to 12 hours afterwards.

After the procedure is finished, you will need to rest & drink plenty of fluids.




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