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Lumbar Puncture in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 2, 2024.

What is a lumbar puncture?

A lumbar puncture is a procedure used to collect cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). CSF is a clear, protective fluid that flows around the brain and inside the spinal canal. A lumbar puncture is usually done to check for an infection, inflammation, bleeding, or other conditions that affect the brain. It may also be done to remove CSF to reduce pressure in the brain.

How do I prepare my child for a lumbar puncture?

What will happen during a lumbar puncture?

What happens after a lumbar puncture?

Your child will need to lie flat in bed until a healthcare provider says it is okay to get up. Help your child tell a healthcare provider if he or she has a headache, back pain, or tingling, numbness, or weakness below the waist.

What are the risks of a lumbar puncture?

Your child may have neck or back pain. There may be bleeding, infection, or injury to a disc in your child's spine. Spinal fluid may leak from the puncture site. Your child's nerves or spinal cord may be damaged. Your child is at higher risk if he or she has a blood disorder or is taking certain medicines.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.