A spinal tap is used to sample the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that bathes the brain, spinal cord and nerve roots. The CSF sample is taken with a needle placed between vertebrae of the lower spine.
This fluid may indicate whether there is bleeding or infection around the brain. It may also help determine the cause of unexplained headaches or seizures. It can also be examined for proteins associated with diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
To perform a spinal tap, the physician numbs the skin with lidocaine and then places a needle into numbed tissue and pushes it between the vertebrae of the lower back. The needle is carefully guided through the dura and into the subarachnoid space to retrieve the fluid sample.
This content is not yet available. Please check back later.