Spinal Tap Care

Learn what care is required for the Spinal Tap procedure. Find out what you need to do prior to the procedure, how long it will take, if you will be required to stay in the hospital and what the postoperative care is.

Spinal Tap Details

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

What to Expect Prior to Procedure

Prior to the procedure, your doctor will likely do the following:

  • CT scan of the head -a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures
  • Clean the site where the needle will be inserted


Local anesthesia-just a small area is numbed; given as an injection

Description of Procedure

You will lie on your side with your knees drawn up to your abdomen. Sometimes, the procedure is done while you sit on the edge of the bed. A needle will be inserted into the spinal canal through the lower back. The doctor will take a sample of CSF through the needle. The pressure of the CSF will be measured. If you have discomfort, the needle may need to be repositioned. It may take several minutes for the doctor to collect all the fluid he needs. Once the doctor is done, the needle will be taken out, and a dressing will be placed.

Immediately After Procedure

You will lie down for 10-15 minutes. Unless you have a severe headache, you will be able to go home.

How Long Will It Take?

About 30-45 minutes from setup to completion

Will It Hurt?

Discomfort is minimal to moderate. The anesthetic will sting when first injected.

Post-procedure Care

When you return home after the procedure, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:

  • Drink extra fluids for the next 24 hours.
  • Rest and remain quiet for at least 24 hours.
  • Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions .


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