Skip to Content
A lumbar puncture is a procedure in which a needle is inserted into
the spinal canal to measure the pressure and obtain a sample of cerebrospinal
fluid (CSF), the colorless fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. The
procedure may also be used to inject anesthetics, medicine, or a contrast dye
(for spinal X-rays) into the spinal fluid or to drain fluids that accumulate as
a result of certain medical conditions.
Fluid samples obtained from a lumbar puncture can be analyzed for
signs of infection (such as meningitis), inflammation, cancer, or bleeding in
the area around the brain or spinal cord.
A lumbar puncture is also sometimes called a spinal tap.
Current as of:
September 9, 2014
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Joseph O'Donnell, MD - Hematology, Oncology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
© Copyright 2015 Rush-Copley Medical Center • 2000 Ogden Avenue; Aurora, IL 60504
Main: 630-978-6200 • Physician Referral & Information: 630-978-6700 or 866-4COPLEY (866-426-7539)