M At The Doctor

Lumbar puncture: side effects and contraindications

It is still practiced in hospitals, for a question of aseptic and post-puncture surveillance.

The patient is sitting or lying on his side, his back being as round as possible to bring out the spine. The doctor introduces the needle after sleeping (by a small local anesthesia), and then sanitizes the puncture area located in the lower sacro-lumbar region (lower back).

If there is urgency, as in the case of a suspicion of bacterial meningitis, the anesthetic is replaced by the inhalation of a laughing gas. It works very well in children.

To note: the doctors have very fine needles "to end foam", rounded. They limit pain, bleeding and headaches. On the other hand, they can not be used on vertebral columns with osteoarthritis, too hard for these needles.

Side effects of lumbar puncture

We talk about "post lumbar puncture syndrome", mainly headaches. This is why you are asked to lie down for at least four hours after the puncture, to limit the occurrence and intensity of pain.

There is also always a risk of infection related to the practice of the puncture itself (nosocomial risk), but it is very low.

Contraindications of lumbar puncture

Intracranial hypertension or the presence of a cerebral hematoma (after an accident in particular) are, without prior scanner, absolute contraindications, because of the risk of brain damage (cerebral involvement) that the lumbar puncture could cause.

In addition, skin infections (eg chickenpox), the use of anticoagulants or antiaggregants, the presence of plates and screws in the spine are contraindications for lumbar puncture.

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Read also :

> Scoliosis
> Lumbar osteoarthritis

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