Understanding the Lumbar Puncture Procedure

A lumbar procedure is one of the specialized neurological test, which collects and examines the cerebrospinal fluid; a fluid found inside the brain and spinal cord. This is a delicate procedure and should only be done by an experienced neurosurgeon.

Why is lumbar puncture performed?

A lumbar puncture is ordered by a neurologist to collect and examine the cerebrospinal fluid for the following:

  • Finding out the presence and causes of inflammation and infection.
  • To determine whether there is bleeding in the brain and the surrounding structure of the spinal cord.
  • To diagnose certain disease of the spinal cord and the brain; including cancer.

A brief review on how lumbar puncture is perform

As a preparation for the actual procedure, the patient is put on a lying down lumbar punctureposition, but in some instances the patient is allowed to sit up. The lumbar puncture procedure in infant is usually done in a sitting position. Right after correctly and comfortably placing the patient, the next step is to inject a local anesthesia in the lumbar area; just in between the vertebrae and spinal canal. The correct position would be between the third and fourth vertebrae. The CSF is withdrawn for testing.

The cerebrospinal fluid is considered a water bath, which serves as a buoyancy for the brain and the spinal cord. Through its support, the brain will have added protection from injury. However, the amount of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain and spinal cord should be kept at its normal level at all times. Any abnormalities can be suggestive of ongoing infection and diseases. During the inspection of cerebrospinal fluid, the values are checked and tested for presence of infection.

Lumbar puncture diagnosed the following disease conditions:

  • Increased pressure secondary to hydrocephalus
  • Bleeding around the brain
  • Inflammation in the spinal cord
  • Inflammation of the brain
  • Meningitis
  • Encephalitis
  • Presence of tumor in the spinal cord and/or in the brain.
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and other types of autoimmune diseases

Are there any risks?

Lumbar puncture can be very risky due to the invasive nature of the procedure. Some of the risks include but not limited to the following:

  • Headache (patient should remain flat for a few hours after the procedure to prevent headache)
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Brain herniation

Finding the right doctor

A lumbar puncture is a delicate procedure, which should only be performed by a highly experienced neurologist; specifically a neurosurgeon. Now, if you are asked to undergo a lumbar puncture procedure to determine a specific disease condition that you might have, then make sure you choose a highly reputable neurosurgeon; someone who you can completely trust. Dr. Adel Malek is one of the highly respected neurosurgeons today. He has been practicing medicine specializing in neurosurgery for more than two decades now.

He graduated from Harvard Medical School and had undergone general surgery

Dr. Adel Malek
Dr. Adel Malek

training at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. This is one of the prestigious hospitals in the United states, which also means that Dr. Malek has undergone high quality training. Today, he affiliates with Tufts Medical Center and serving the people of Boston.