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A sample of the CSF will be taken from the lumbar area of the spine. This is called a lumbar puncture. How the test will feel: The position used during lumbar puncture may be uncomfortable, but you must remain in the curled position to avoid moving the needle and possibly injuring the spinal cord. There also may be some discomfort with the needle prick and the insertion of the lumbar puncture needle. When the fluid is withdrawn, there may be a feeling of pressure.
Risks of lumbar puncture include:
- Allergic reaction to the anesthetic.
- Discomfort during the test.
- Headache after the test.
- Bleeding into the spinal canal.
- Brain herniation (if performed on a patient with increased intracranial pressure), which can result in brain damage and/or death.
- Damage to the spinal cord (particularly ithe patient moves during the test).
Review Date 5/4/2021
Updated by: Joseph V. Campellone, MD, Department of Neurology, Cooper Medical School at Rowan University, Camden, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.