Lumbar Puncture or Spinal Tap

Lumbar Puncture (or Spinal Tap)

A lumbar puncture, also known as a spinal tap, checks for viruses, bacteria and fungi in the fluid in the space surrounding the spinal cord. This fluid is called the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). A needle into the spine is inserted and the CSF is collected. This test is done to check for infections to the brain or nervous system. The test can also help determine the source of the infection. It also can detect pressures within the cerebrospinal fluid and brain and spinal cord problems causing neurological disorders.

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