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Most of us have heard the term spinal tap, or have seen it on a tv medical drama show. It is known as a lumbar puncture, but what does this procedure involve and how is it utilized? What to know. This procedure is performed in the lower part of the back. It can be used for:
A spinal tap is performed by a doctor or nurse trained to do lumbar punctures. A specialized needle is inserted between the vertebrae to collect cerebrospinal fluid. Cerebrospinal fluid is a watery, colorless fluid that cushions the spinal cord and brain, protecting them from injury/damage. Questions may arise as to when an individual would need a spinal tap, how dangerous it is, and what to expect from this procedure?
Spinal taps are often utilized in helping to diagnose infections of the central nervous system. One of the most common infections is meningitis. A sample of cerebrospinal fluid is taken, tested, and if infectious organisms are growing within, these are clue/s for determining and customizing a treatment plan and antibiotic therapy. The procedure also helps with:
For example, a contrast dye can be injected into the cerebrospinal fluid to get an anatomical view of the spinal cord and coverings. They are quite helpful when an individual cannot have an MRI done.
A spinal tap is done in a hospital or outpatient facility, depending on the reason for the tap. It is not an emergency procedure. Emergencies bring to mind situations and events that have to be done within seconds/minutes. A lumbar puncture does not entail that type of action.
Listen and follow the provider’s instructions regarding what to eat and drink.
A tap is a simple procedure that usually takes a half-hour or less to complete.
Once finished, the patient lies on their back for 30 to 60 minutes so the doctor can check for any abnormalities or affects. Being sent home depends on the reason for the tap. If there is unexplained fever, nausea, etc, a patient will not be sent home.
If it was an outpatient procedure the patient can leave and resume some simple activities after having a few hours of relaxation. Temporary pain meds are prescribed to address any discomfort. Results could come a day or a week later. They depend on the reason for the spinal tap.
It is considered a safe procedure with rare complications. The most common effect is a headache and usually comes on several hours, to a day or two later. These will not lead to any neurologic problems. Water or tea can help prevent and reduce the headache. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help too. However, if the headache continues after two days, call the doctor. A very small possibility of a more severe complication could happen including:
This is a very safe procedure with the medical team being highly trained and skilled professionals that are careful and gentle.
The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, and sensitive health issues and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate and support directly or indirectly our clinical scope of practice.*
Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation as to how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900. The provider(s) Licensed in Texas& New Mexico*
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