An LP is a procedure that is done in the office or hospital. This test is typically done when certain disease activity is suspected in the brain or spinal cord, such as infection, multiple sclerosis or certain types of dementia. Cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) is collected into test tubes through a needle that is inserted in the central portion of the low back. The fluid is sent to a laboratory for analysis.
The procedure typically takes 10-20 minutes to complete and is performed in our office or at the hospital. After the procedure, you are asked to lie down for at least an hour or so to minimize side effects. Most people tolerate this procedure very well, but some will experience discomfort such as low back pain and/or headache in the hours or days after the procedure. These symptoms are usually benign and typically dissipate within days with minimal intervention and no residual consequences.
You may eat and drink as usual on the day of the procedure. Depending on diagnosis and types of fluid analysis ordered, the results can take several days to several weeks to return and will be reviewed with you at your follow up appointment.