A lumbar puncture (also called a spinal tap) is a test to check the
fluid that surrounds and protects your child's spinal cord and brain. Your
doctor may have done this test to look for an infection. In some cases, it's done to release pressure from too much fluid. Or it may be done to look for
Your child may feel tired. His or her back may be sore where the needle went in. (This is called the puncture site.)
Your child may have a mild headache for a day or two. This can happen when some
of the spinal fluid is taken out. Some children also have trouble sleeping for a
day or two.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long
it will take for your child to recover. But each child recovers at a different
pace. Follow the steps below to help your child get better as quickly as
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all
appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also
a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines
your child takes.
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek
immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be
sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter S637 in the search box to learn more about "Lumbar Puncture in Children: What to Expect at Home."
Current as of:
October 14, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
© 2006-2017 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.