The lumbar puncture test, also called a spinal tap, evaluates the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
During the procedure, your NeuroHealth doctor will insert a needle into the spinal canal and withdraw several small samples of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) for analysis. He or she will also measure CSF pressure during the test.
Because a local anesthetic is applied to the site of the injection, a lumbar puncture is not usually painful. However, you may feel some pressure and a slight soreness when the needle first penetrates the skin and spinal cord.
This type of test can be performed very quickly and in almost any setting, including on-site at the NeuroHealth facility.
The entire test usually takes around 20 minutes, although you will be instructed to rest, keeping your head flat, for anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours afterwards to help prevent headache.