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Lumbar Puncture

A lumbar puncture also known as a spinal tap, is done to obtain samples of the clear, colorless fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord (cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF) to diagnose any disease or injury that affects the brain, spinal cord, or their protective membranes such as meningitis, hemorrhage, cancer, inflammation etc.  This test is usually done to evaluate the causes of numbness or paralysis, stiff neck with a high fever, delirium, or sudden onset of severe headache. This test is also done to inject anesthetics or medications in to the cerebrospinal fluid, to decrease the pressure in the brain caused by an excess of CSF and to inject a dye that is used to produce X-ray images of the spinal cord. 

Care before the procedure
Before you have a lumbar puncture, inform your doctor if you are taking any medications especially blood thinning medications, allergic to any medications or anesthetics, have had bleeding problems and if you are  or might be pregnant. A detailed neurological exam should be done before performing the test in people who have bleeding disorders and are suspected of any illness of the brain. 

How the test is done
The procedure involves inserting a needle into the spinal cord to obtain samples of the cerebrospinal fluid.  The person is made to bend over while sitting in a chair or lie down on one side with knees flexed toward the chest. These positions help to separate the vertebrae of the lower back. The area where the needle is to be inserted is cleaned and medication is injected to provide local anesthesia. Then the spinal needle is inserted and the fluid is collected or drugs injected. The pressure of the fluid is also measured during the test. The procedure usually lasts 15 to 20 minutes. 

Samples are analyzed for colour, blood cell counts, protein, glucose and other substances. Samples are also placed under conditions that promote the growth of infectious organisms, such as bacteria or fungi, to check for infection of the CSF.

After the test, a dressing is applied on the puncture site and the person may be instructed to lie flat up to 12 hours to avoid the post-procedure spinal headache. The person is also advised to drink plenty of fluids to help the body replenish the cerebral spinal fluid. He has to report any numbness and tingling to the legs, bleeding or oozing from the puncture site, or headaches that fail to improve to the doctor.

The main risk from a lumbar puncture is a spinal headache which usually last for few hours. These headaches can be avoided by lying flat for several hours and drinking plenty of fluids. Spinal headaches occur due to a change in cerebral spinal fluid pressure as a result of removing a sample for testing. Severe cases may require pain medication or another special procedure to repair the spinal tap site. 

The test can be dangerous causing severe injury and even possible death, for people who have increased pressure within the brain, bleeding disorders or infection in the brain. A detailed neurological exam should be done before performing the test in such cases.

Questions of
 Questions & Answers
 1.  Posted on : 9.1.2014  By  :  Soumyya Das , Kolkata View Answer (1) Post Answer

Cholecystectomy was done 2 years ago but looking bulky and over weight approx 87 kg triglycerides also increased what should I do?


Please refer to the following chart for ideal height and weight Calorie Needs , Weight Chart , Calorie content in food, Calore to lose weight

  Posted By :Admin , | On 26.5.2014
 2.  Posted on : 27.6.2013  By  :  akshay arora , Bareilly (u.p.) View Answer (1) Post Answer

My age is just 22 yrs. And i am having pain in my knee joints doctors said i am sufferin from arthiris/ortheoritis what can i do is their any treatment or not because they have told me that their is no treatment


Arthritis can be caused by many reasons which includes weight problems. Please consult a bbone specialist for further advise. You can too young to have chronic arthritis all your life. Good luck

  Posted By :Admin , | On 26.5.2014
 3.  Posted on : 11.9.2012  By  :  Saswajeet Routray , Kolkata View Answer (1) Post Answer

I am 32 years old and my wife is 30 now. Myself and my wife, both are suffering from joint pain from 5-6 months. A cracking sound also coming from the knees. Please let me know what to do.


Joint pain can be caused by many reasons.Over weight Oesteo porosis or born loss, arthritis, some febril illnesses are some of the causes. You are very young to ignore your joint pains. You should see an internist. He can examine you, order some blood test and give you a diagnosis. Good luck

  Posted By :Admin , Kochi | On 4.6.2013
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