Reasons for Spinal Tap

When your doctor informs you that you need the Spinal Tap procedure performed it can be scary. Learn exactly what the procedure involves, the reasons it needs to be performed and what the next steps could be.

Why Spinal Tap is Performed

Alternate Names for Spinal Tap:
Cerebrospinal fluid analysis
Cerebrospinal fluid tap
CSF analysis
CSF tap
Lumbar puncture
Puncture, lumbar

Reasons for Procedure

A lumbar puncture may be done when the following conditions are suspected:

  • Brain infection, or infection of the layers around the brain
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Any disorder affecting the nervous system
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Bleeding in the brain or spinal cord
  • Excess CSF in the brain

The procedure may also be done to:

  • Administer dye for imaging studies
  • Drain CSF to lower pressure within the brain
  • Administer medicines (eg, chemotherapy , antibiotics, anesthesia )


Learn what Spinal Tap is
What Is
Learn what the procedure is. Find out how it is performed.
Reasons For Spinal Tap
Reasons For
Find out why and when this procedure should be done.
Spinal Tap Complications
Learn about possible complications and what might increase the risk of them.
Spinal Tap Details
What to Expect
Find out how long it will take, what they will be doing and what to expect afterwards.
Spinal Tap Results
What are the next steps and other possible tests needed after you have received the results.
When to Contact Doctor about Spinal Tap
Call Your Doctor
What to look out for and when to call your doctor after a procedure has been done.

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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright ©2014 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved. Source: EBSCO