St. Mary's Lumbar Puncture Procedure - What You Can Expect
You must sign a consent form. You must be prepared to
remain in the hospital for at least 6 to 8 hours, and you must remain flat.
Infants and children:
The physical and psychological preparation you can provide for this or any
test or procedure depends on your child's age, interests, previous experience,
and level of trust.
You will lie on your side with your knees drawn up toward your chin or on
your stomach. The doctor will cleanse the skin over your spinal column with
iodine. An injection of local anesthetic may be given at the puncture site. A
needle is inserted into your spinal fluid space. A long, thin tube called a
manometer is attached to the needle to measure the fluid's pressure. Spinal
fluid is collected into specimen tubes for laboratory testing.
After the Test
You will be asked to lie on your stomach for about 30 minutes. After that,
you will be asked to lie on your back or side for 15 to 90 minutes. Your nurse
will check the puncture site periodically for swelling or leakage of spinal
fluid. They will also ask you to wiggle your toes and move your legs.
Report the following to your physician:
- numbness or pain in your lower back and legs
- problems with urination
You may return to your hospital room or home, unless given other instructions
from the doctor. If you are being driven home, you should lie down in the
vehicle, if possible. You will learn the test results either from the doctor
before you leave, or from a copy of the letter sent to your personal
Instructions to Follow at Home
- Drink 8 to 12 glasses of fluid (no alcohol) in
the next 12 hours, unless your doctor indicates otherwise
- Remain quiet for the next 24 hours
- Avoid any strenuous physical activity for 48
- If you develop a headache, lie flat for the
next 12 to 24 hours or until the headache goes away. Remember to drink
plenty of fluids.
- If your headache persists, call your home physician or the physician
at the hospital who performed the Lumbar Puncture