Lumbar Puncture

A procedure performed by placing a needle into the spinal column to obtain spinal fluid or to measure the pressure of the fluid in the spinal column.  The fluid obtained may be sent to the laboratory for testing.


  1. Drink at least 8-10 (8 ounce) glasses of liquid (water, juice, cola, milk, etc.) each day for 48 hours after the procedure, unless instructed otherwise by the doctor.
  2. Remain flat in bed after the procedure, getting out of bed only to ride home or use the restroom.
  3. DO NOT stoop or bend for 24 hours.
  4. Change the band-aid at the puncture site as needed.  The band-aid may be removed 24 hours after the procedure.

Call your doctor if you have any questions or if any of the following occur within 72 hours (3 days) of leaving the hospital:

  1. Fever of 101 degrees F or above.
  2. Chills.
  3. Pain or redness at the wound site more than when discharged from the hospital.
  4. Moderate to severe headache not relieved by pain medicine.
  5. Any new numbness or tingling not present before the procedure.
  6. Any new bowel or bladder problems (such as being unable to urinate or loss of bladder/bowel control).
  7. Nausea and vomiting – more than three (3) times in 24 hours.
  8. Weakness in the leg(s) more than before the procedure.
  9. Clear or bloody drainage at the puncture site that saturates a band-aid in one hour or less.

If unable to contact your doctor and feel you have an emergency, go the Emergency Department.