Print

Lumbar Puncture (Spinal Tap)

A lumbar puncture, also called a spinal tap, is an image-guided procedure performed on the lower back which removes fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord to examine it for cancer cells or infection. This fluid is called cerebrospinal fluid or CSF and is a clear liquid that delivers nutrients to the brain and cushions the spinal cord and brain. A lumbar puncture may also be performed to inject medication into this the spinal column. Children and adolescents are usually given anesthesia or sedation before a lumbar puncture is performed.



Performing the Procedure

© The Children's Oncology Group
The information and content provided on this website is made available for informational purposes only for children and their families affected by cancer. While the Children's Oncology Group strives to provide accurate and up-to-date information, the information may be out of date or incomplete in certain respects. Please do not rely on this information and seek the care of a qualified medical professional if you have questions regarding a specific medical condition, disease, diagnosis or symptom. The information and content presented herein is not intended to replace the independent clinical judgement, medical advice, screening, health counseling, or other intervention performed by your (or your child's) health care provider. Please contact "911" or your emergency services if this is a health emergency. No endorsement of any specific tests, products, or procedures is made herein.