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A spinal tap or lumbar puncture is a procedure that diagnoses and treats some neurological conditions. During a spinal tap, a specialist collects cerebrospinal fluid, which surrounds and protects your brain. Your body keeps cerebrospinal fluid at a certain pressure. Any abnormal changes in this fluid can indicate a neurological condition, such as a traumatic brain injury.
At Dignity Health Central California, our highly skilled neurologists, physician assistants, and other experienced health care professionals perform spinal taps with personal care. Find a Doctor near you for quality neurology services, including spinal taps, in Central California.
Your spinal tap will take place in one of our Dignity Health Central California hospitals. The procedure can take up to 45 minutes.
The care provider performing the spinal tap will cleanse your lower back, where the needle will be inserted. Then, you’ll receive a numbing medication, or anesthetic. The specialist will insert a thin needle, which will record your spinal pressure and withdraw spinal fluid.
If the spinal tap is being done to deliver medication, your doctor will inject the medication during the procedure. Bleeding around the spinal cord can occur, so your doctor will monitor you for several minutes after completing the spinal tap.
To heal properly and reduce the risk of bleeding, you may have to rest for the remainder of the day. Your doctor may recommend you lie flat on your back to put pressure on the puncture site.
Some people experience a headache after a spinal tap, as there’s a temporary change of pressure in your skull during a spinal tap. Always report a headache or any other complications to your doctor for a prompt evaluation.
Comprehensive neurology services at Dignity Health Central California offer lumbar puncture in Bakersfield, and Stockton, CA.