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EdhaCare - Lumbar Puncture In India


Lumbar Puncture - Overview

A lumbar puncture is a test where a doctor uses a needle to get fluid from your child’s lower back. This fluid is called cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF. Your child lies on their side and is held still, and a doctor puts a needle between the bones of the lower back. It does not go near the spinal cord. Lumbar punctures are also sometimes called a spinal tap or LP.


During a lumbar puncture, your child will lie on their side with their knees tucked into their chest and head bent forward. Babies will be curled in a ball to get a better position. Young children and babies will be held in position by an assistant. A doctor then puts a needle into the spaces between the spine bones (see white arrows in the figure below) to the area where the fluid is. This area is called the subarachnoid space.

A lumbar puncture is an uncomfortable test, and sometimes painful. In addition, babies and small children do not like being held in place and will often cry. Your child may be given some cream or an injection to help numb the area where the needle will go in, and some children can be given medicine to make them feel calmer and less scared.


A lumbar puncture is a safe test. Sometimes doctors are not able to get fluid, and they may have to try more than once. A small number of children may have a headache or backache for a day or two after the test. The risk of any serious complications, including bleeding, infection or damage to nerves, is extremely low.