What is a cerebral spinal fluid analysis (spinal tap)?

A lumbar puncture, or spinal tap, is a procedure where a needle is inserted into a space within the spinal column of the lower back. Your doctor will use the information from this test in your diagnosis and care.

A lumbar puncture can be done:
  • to obtain fluid for laboratory testing
  • to measure and relieve spinal pressure
  • to detect if blood is in the spinal fluid
  • to detect a spinal blockage
  • to instill antibiotics
  • to instill anticancer drugs

Continue Learning about Spinal Tap

What is a lumbar puncture (LP)?
A lumbar puncture (LP), also known as a "spinal tap," is a medical procedure that can be used both f...
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What should I expect during a spinal tap?
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During a lumbar puncture (spinal tap), two body positions allow the widest space in the spinal colum...
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How can I reduce my risk of a headache after a lumbar puncture?
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The biggest risks associated with lumbar puncture (LP) -- also called a spinal tap -- are a post-LP ...
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Why would a spinal tap procedure be used on a newborn?
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If a mother has premature rupture of membranes greater than 18 hours prior to delivery or has a temp...
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.