A spinal tap, also called a lumbar puncture, is a procedure that can help either diagnose or treat medical conditions. If you have unexplained symptoms, such as recurring headaches, and other tests have failed to find the cause, a spinal tap from the iCare ER & Urgent Care may help. With locations in both Frisco and South Fort Worth, TX, iCare features a comprehensive medical laboratory that can return the results of your spinal tap quickly, leading to faster and more effective treatments. Our team of highly trained physicians will work with you to determine if you need a spinal tap, and if so, will make sure that your experience is as comfortable as possible.
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About Spinal Taps
A spinal tap procedure is when a hollow needle is inserted into a space between 2 lumbar bones, or vertebrae, in order to withdraw a sample of cerebrospinal fluid or to inject a medication. If the spinal tap is being performed in order to diagnose or detect a condition, the cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord to protect them), will be examined to check the balance of cells, water, proteins, sugars, and other substances that may be found. If the disease or condition is already known, our doctors may use a spinal tap to inject medications, such as anesthetics or chemotherapy drugs, into the cerebrospinal fluid.
Purpose of a Spinal Tap
There are a variety of conditions that may be diagnosed or treated through a spinal tap. Some of the conditions can be detected are meningitis, encephalitis, cancers of the brain or spinal cord, bleeding between the brain and the tissues surrounding it, Reye syndrome, myelitis, neurosyphilis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, normal pressure hydrocephalus, and multiple sclerosis.
Additionally, if you have serious headaches that have no known cause and other medical tests have not helped to diagnose the cause, a spinal tap may be used to identify the condition leading to the headaches. The sample of cerebrospinal fluid will be analyzed in our onsite CLIA/COLA-certified medical laboratory and returned within 15 minutes so that treatment can begin as soon as possible. Spinal taps can also be used to inject substances into the spinal cord. This generally includes spinal anesthetics before a surgery, chemotherapy drugs or other medications, or a type of dye used for X-rays in certain cases.
What to Expect
After our experienced practitioner determines that a spinal tap is needed for your diagnosis or treatment, we will prepare you for the process. You will be positioned either sitting on the edge of the exam table with your arms draped in front of you or lying on the table with your knees tucked under so that your back is arched and the spaces between your vertebrae widen as much as possible.
The physician will cleanse your back with an antiseptic solution, and then numb it with a local anesthetic. Then, a hollow needle will be inserted into your lower back. You will be asked to remain still despite the possibility of feeling an uncomfortable pressure.
If you are undergoing the spinal tap for screening, the physician will collect cerebrospinal fluid that will drip out of the hollow needle into test tubes. If the spinal tap is being conducted for treatment, the physician will then inject medication through the needle into the spinal canal. After the procedure is finished, the needle will be carefully removed and the injection site will be bandaged. The cerebrospinal fluid will be tested onsite. For an hour after the spinal tap, you will need to lie flat to avoid headaches or other side effects.
Plan Your Procedure
- Procedure Recovery Location
You are in good hands
Many unexplained diseases or conditions can be diagnosed or treated with a spinal tap at the iCare ER & Urgent Care in Frisco or South Fort Worth. iCare offers a highly experienced team of physicians, private exam rooms, a comprehensive billing program, and innovative medical laboratory. If you need a spinal tap for diagnostic or treatment purposes, iCare can help.