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Diagnosing Your Condition with a Spinal Tap on the Central Coast

While hearing you need a spinal tap, or lumbar puncture, may cause worry, this neurological procedure is very safe and can effectively diagnosis a neurological condition.

Your lumbar puncture will be done in your lower back using a spinal tap needle. A skilled neurologist at Dignity Health Central Coast will perform your spinal tap with expertise and personal care. Find a Doctor to schedule your spinal tap on the Central Coast of California.


Reaching a Diagnosis with a Spinal Tap at Dignity Health Central Coast

Your doctor may perform a lumbar puncture to determine the following neurological conditions: 

  • Bleeding in your brain due to brain injury, aneurysm, or bleeding disorder
  • Brain or spinal cord infections
  • Intracranial pressure increase, signaling a rise in spinal fluid pressure

Skilled Dignity Health Central Coast doctors also perform lumbar punctures to directly deliver medications into your spinal cord area. Throughout your spinal tap procedure, your doctor focuses on your care, dignity, and respect for your health and well-being.


What to Expect During Your Spinal Tap Test

A spinal tap involves the collection of collect a sample of clear liquid, called cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). You should expect to spend approximately 45 minutes in one of our Dignity Health Central Coast hospitals. The steps of the procedure are as follows:

  • You will sit on the side of a bed with your chin tucked or lie on your side with your knees at your chest.
  • Your doctor will clean the puncture area carefully with antiseptic liquid.
  • The doctor will give you an injection of numbing medication. This might sting for a moment.
  • The doctor inserts a thin needle into the tissue surrounding your spinal cord. You may feel pressure and pain.
  • After a needle is inserted, your doctor will measure the CSF pressure and take a sample of the fluid.


Spinal Tap Recovery

One of the risks of your spinal tap is bleeding around your spinal cord. You are carefully monitored by a trusted doctor for several minutes after the lumbar puncture.

Lying flat on your back to relieve pressure will help to reduce excessive bleeding or spinal fluid leakage. Taking the time to rest after the procedure is very important. 

Headache is the most common lumbar puncture complication. When the pressure inside of your head changes from the spinal test, you can get a severe headache. Report this and any other symptoms to your doctor.

Talk to your doctor to see if a spinal tap can help lead to a diagnosis for your neurological condition today.

Dignity Health neurological care provides a range of comprehensive services, including spinal tap, on California’s Central Coast.