A lumbar puncture (also called a spinal tap) is a procedure to collect and look at the fluid (Reference cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF Opens New Window) surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
During a lumbar puncture, a needle is carefully inserted into the spinal canal low in the back (lumbar area). Samples of CSF are collected. The samples are studied for color, blood cell counts, protein, glucose, and other substances. Some of the sample may be put into a special culture cup to see if any infection, such as bacteria or Reference fungi Opens New Window, grows. The pressure of the CSF also is measured during the procedure.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference August 30, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Joseph O'Donnell, MD - Hematology, Oncology