Lumbar Puncture

A lumbar puncture is a procedure that uses X-ray guidance to assist in the removal of a sample of spinal fluid for analysis and measure the pressure in the space around the spinal canal.

Before Your Procedure

  • We will be using radiation for this exam. Please notify your doctor if you are pregnant.Some medications may increase the risk of bleeding after your procedure. Please check with your doctor about possibly holding medications such as aspirin, Coumadin (warfarin), Ticlid, Pletal, Aggrenox, Plavix and NSAIDS such as naproxen and ibuprofen, before your procedure. You may resume your medications the day after your procedure.
  • If you are not on a fluid restriction, drink plenty of fluids the day before the exam.
  • You may continue to take your normal medications, including pain medication.
  • You will need to arrange for a driver to take you home because you are not allowed to drive after the procedure.
  • You will be scheduled to arrive in Outpatient Services 1 hour before the exam.

During Your Procedure

  • You will lie on your stomach on the X-ray table.
  • A small area on your lower back will be washed and numbed with a local anesthetic.
  • A needle is inserted into the spinal canal to obtain samples of spinal fluid.
  • The procedure takes about 30 minutes.

After Your Procedure

  • You will be observed in Outpatient Services for 3 hours.
  • Occasionally a headache may develop. To minimize the possibility of a headache after the procedure, stay on bedrest with your head flat or slightly elevated until the morning.
  • You can be up in a car for the ride home, up for meals and to go to the bathroom.
  • Drink plenty of fluids during the next 24 hours.
  • Notify your doctor of any signs of infection at the puncture site such as redness, swelling and drainage or fever.
  • Also, notify your doctor of blurred vision or a stiff neck.
  • If nausea and vomiting occur, notify your doctor before taking any medications to relieve these symptoms.
  • Your doctor will be contacted with the results of your test and will discuss the results with you.

Providing safe, quality patient care is our highest priority. To help ensure quality and safety, we ask that you do not bring young children with you to your appointments, as children are not allowed to accompany you during Imaging procedures. Staff is unable to monitor your child in your absence.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your provider.

Back to Imaging Patient Instructions

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

CentraCare care givers have been working around the clock for more than 20 months to care for you, your families and friends during COVID. We are committed to caring for every Minnesotan who needs us, and nothing will prevent us from doing so – even during these never-seen-before times.

The challenge of providing this level of care is that our hospital beds are often full. ERs in all of our hospitals are packed. And our clinical teams are exhausted. Early in the pandemic, our community stepped up in amazing ways to help us. We ask that you again join us in fighting this pandemic together.

How can you help?

  • Please get your COVID vaccines and booster shots. They are proven safe and effective in reducing COVID illness, keeping people out of the hospital, and preventing death.
  • If your situation is not an emergency, please use other care options, including:
  • If this is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1, or visit the ER.

Together, we can do this. Thank you for your support.

Ken Holmen, MD
President and CEO