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Date of last update: 10/04/2017.

Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: Lumbar puncture - bedside vs. fluroscopic

 Curmudgeon76 - Sun Oct 21, 2007 11:35 pm


Back in June, I had a lumbar puncture do to non specific brain MRI abnormality, autonomic dysfunction, vertigo-like episodes, etc. I had a bedside tap and it was the most unpleasant thing I've ever gone through. She took 90 minutes to get a flow and kept blaming her inabillity to get a flow on my "anatomy". She kept brushing my spinal nerves with the needle which sent electric shock-like pain down my right leg.

My new neurologist, who is much better, is concerned because I was told that my CSF was normal, but there were cells due to blood contamination. I know the normal cell count is between 0-5 cells. One of my tubes apparently was 5 and the other 10. This does concern me and my neuro, though he suspects it is due to the blood contamination.

I'm scheduled for another LP on Wednesday and am terrified of going through that kind of pain and discomfort again. Has anyone ever had a fluroscopic LP? From what I've been told it's so precise that it should be painless, and I should only experience a sensation of pressure (then again, I was told that about the bedside tap). I drank plenty of fluids the first time and did not get a spinal headache.

Has anyone had either/both procedure variants and could give me some insight or feedback on their experiences? My doctor suggested taking some percocet and ativan before the procedure to help me relax.

Thanks in advance to all for your advice! :)
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Wed Oct 24, 2007 11:49 pm

User avatar Hi Curmudgeon76,

Lumbar punctures can be somewhat painful; however, often they can be done under sedation with pain control. When done this way you often cannot remember the procedure.

Regarding flouro vs. bedside, flouroscopy is generally needed when the clinician is unable to get the needle in the right position. Most of the time this is not necessary. The pain/pressure should be the same both ways.

I would suggest that you discuss having the procedure done under sedation with your doctor.

Best wishes.

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