Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Lumbar Puncture

  • Nathan D. ZaslerEmail author
  • Paul E. Kaplan
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_45


Lumbar tap; Spinal puncture; Spinal tap


Lumbar usually refers to that part of the back or spine between the ribs and the pelvis. Lumbar puncture (LP) used to be called a spinal puncture or in common parlance a “spinal tap.” Before CT scans were invented, the majority of the “neurological” exam would have consisted of a 2 or 3 h history and physical, appropriate X-rays, and a lumbar puncture. Lumbar punctures could generate headaches, infections, or worse (i.e., herniation). With the advent of the much less invasive CT and MRI brain scans, the importance of the lumbar puncture as a diagnostic or treatment tool has greatly declined. It is now especially used for the evaluation of infectious, malignant or immunological disorders. It also has been used to evaluate suspected hydrocephalus through serial taps and CSF drainage. Prior to any LP, the clinician must assure the absence of increased intracranial pressure to avoid possible downward brain herniation. A lumbar...

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References and Readings

  1. Freeman Multiple Sclerosis, Thompson, E. J., Deisenhammer, F., et al. (2005). Recommended standard of cerebrospinal fluid analysis in the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis: A consensus statement. Archives of Neurology, 62, 865–870.Google Scholar
  2. Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology (1992). Practice parameter: Lumbar puncture. American Academy of Neurology, 149–155.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Concussion Care Centre of Virginia, Ltd.RichmondUSA
  2. 2.Capitol Clinical NeuroscienceFolsomUSA