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Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: Lumbar puncture - why no general?

 skyblues - Sun Dec 09, 2007 1:07 am

I am a 24-year-old female with no significant medical/surgical history other than hypoglycemia and meningitis as a child. Heart disease and alcoholism run in the family. I'm not currently taking any medications.

I had lumbar puncture to diagnose meningitis when I was 13, and I was wondering why in the world general isn't given for this. It's excruciating, and I certainly had a difficult time holding still! I'm a medical professional but have never seen any explanation for this - my best guess would be because of the risk of vomiting?

Thank you in advance for any replies!
 Debbie Miller, RN - Sun Dec 09, 2007 6:17 pm

User avatar I believe it is because, even though it is painful, the risk benefit ratio of general anesthesia is not such that it would be worth it. Even though anesthesia is very safe, there are still serious complications from it, even death. Also, a person who is undergoing such a procedure is likely very ill as you were (and as my young son was when he had several of them) and not a good surgical risk. Usually this is done as a diagnostic procedure to find out what is wrong and unnecessary medications used for anesthesia under those circumstances just wouldn't make sense.

If someone else has more information about this, I would like to know as well.


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