At Tarpon Interventional Pain & Spine Care, with offices in West Plano and North Plano, Texas, the interventional spine pain team will perform your Lumbar Puncture (spinal tap) procedure in an outpatient setting. Someone will need to drive you and take you home following the procedure. To learn more about Spine Care, schedule a consultation online or by phone.
Lumbar Puncture Q & A
What is Lumbar Puncture?
A lumbar puncture (spinal tap) is performed in your lower back in the lumbar region. During a lumbar puncture, a needle is inserted between two lumbar bones (vertebrae) to remove a sample of cerebrospinal fluid. This is the fluid that surrounds your brain and spinal cord.
A lumbar puncture can help diagnose serious infections, such as meningitis; other disorders of the central nervous system, such as Guillain-Barre syndrome and multiple sclerosis; or cancers of the brain or spinal cord and appropriateness for certain medications.
What to expect on Lumbar Puncture?
Tarpon Interventional Pain & Spine Care will perform your spinal tap in an outpatient setting. Someone will need to drive you and take you home following the procedure. The procedure is usually painless after the local anesthetic is given at the site of the procedure on your lower back. The Anesthesia provider (an independent medical provider not affiliated with Tarpon Interventional Pain & Spine Care) will monitor your vital signs, provide sedation and pain medication as needed, and ensure your hydration status is adequate with an IV. Dr. Frazier will use live X-Ray images (fluoroscopy) to direct the needle so as to have the lowest possible chance of irritating a nerve in your back. Once the spinal fluid is collected it is partitioned into lab vials and taken to the lab for the analysis your referring physician has requested.
The anesthesia provider will evaluate whether or not an IV is necessary. If so the nurse will start the IV. You will be rolled into and out of the procedure room to ensure your safety. When you enter the procedure room you will be safely transferred onto a procedure table and secured to the table to ensure that you cannot fall off.
Your back is washed with antiseptic soap or iodine and covered with a sterile sheet.
How is it done?
A lumbar puncture may be done to collect fluid for laboratory analysis in order for your physician to determine the appropriateness for certain medication options based on results.
What to prepare before the procedure?
Drink plenty of water 24 hours prior to your scheduled procedure. It is very important to be well hydrated.
Before your lumbar puncture, in order to screen you for safely undergoing this procedure, your doctor, nurse, or other health care professional asks questions about your medical history, does a physical exam, and orders blood tests to check for bleeding or clotting disorders. Your doctor may also recommend a CT scan or MRI to determine if you have any abnormal swelling in or around your brain. Once the doctor is satisfied that you need a CSF analysis and are not at increased risk to undergo the spinal tap procedure, he will refer you to Dr. Frazier to perform the procedure and obtain the spinal fluid sample for lab analysis.
Medications and Allergies
Please talk to your physician and nurse about any medications you are currently taking especially medications for diabetes, heart or blood pressure problems, including blood thinners. Be sure to mention any over-the-counter drugs, diet pills or herbal supplements.
Tell your doctor or nurse if you’re allergic to any medications such as numbing medications (local anesthetics).
: Take your regular medications as normal on the morning of the procedure with the following exceptions:
- Diabetes Meds: In view of not eating or drinking, do not take your diabetes meds on the morning of the procedure. Bring your diabetes meds with you to the procedure center and we will determine what you should take based on a blood glucose test.
- Anticoagulants (Blood Thinners): In order to decrease the risk of you having a bleeding complication after this procedure, your anticoagulants need to be discontinued for a period prior to the injection and resumed the following morning. Because there is also some risk of other problems when off of the anticoagulant even for a short period, the prescriber of the anticoagulant must provide written approval to hold the anticoagulant prior to the procedure if the benefits outweigh the risks.
What will happen during the procedure?
- Frazier will view your spine using a live x-ray (fluoroscopy) and identify the optimal location to place the needle to obtain the spinal fluid.
- A local anesthetic is injected into your lower back to numb the puncture site before the needle is inserted. The local anesthetic will sting only briefly as it’s injected.
- Plan to rest. Don’t participate in strenuous activities the day of your procedure. You may return to work the following day if your job doesn’t require you to be physically active. Drink plenty of fluids
- Take a nonprescription pain-relieving medication that contains acetaminophen to help reduce a headache or back pain.
- If you develop a severe headache, fever, dizziness, or nausea/vomiting within 7 days after the procedure or new severe back or leg pain or leg numbness, please let Dr. Frazier know immediately. If unable to reach him you should call the physician that referred you to Dr. Frazier or present to your nearest emergency room for evaluation.
What to expect from the results?
The spinal fluid samples are sent to a laboratory for analysis based on the direction of your ordering physician. The results are sent directly to your ordering physician for him/ her to discuss with you.