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Lumbar Puncture (LP)

A Lumbar Puncture, also known as LP or Spinal Tap, is a routine outpatient procedure to withdraw a small sample of CSF, (cerebral spinal fluid) from the lower spine. A needle is inserted between the vertebrae (backbones) in the lower back and into the space containing the spinal fluid which surrounds and cushions the brain and spinal cord.
  • A Neurologist injects a local anesthetic (like Novocaine) under the skin in the lower back and then inserts a thin needle into the space that contains the CSF. This is below the level where the spinal cord ends, so there is no danger to the cord.
  • About 1-2 tablespoons of CSF are removed.  The body replaces this in about 2-3 hours
  • The procedure takes about 20-30 minutes.

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