What is a lumbar puncture?
A lumbar puncture, also known as a spinal tap, is a procedure in which your physician removes cerebrospinal fluid from the subarachnoid space in your spine, using a thin, hollow needle. Cerebrospinal fluid is the fluid surrounding the brain and the spinal cord.
There are many reasons why your physician may want to you to have a lumbar puncture. The cerebrospinal fluid can be analyzed for infection, cancer, bleeding, or heightened intracranial pressure. Your physician can tell you why you need to have a lumbar puncture.