Cutting a vein or an artery

If a doctor needs to cut a vein or artery, they’ll use a laser or a tiny knife.

If the skin is very thin, a doctor will also use a special tool called an electrosurgery unit that looks like a giant battery. It’s used to treat soft tissues like the skin and muscles.

How long does it take for a lumbar puncture needle to go in?

Lumbar puncture procedure time

A lumbar puncture takes about 10 minutes.

Lumbar puncture needles

The puncture needle used for a lumbar puncture is different than those you’ll use for an ultrasound.

A lumbar puncture needle is longer than an ultrasound needle. For a lumbar puncture, the needle is about as long as a pencil.

A lumbar puncture needle is different than a spinal needle used during an ultrasound.

The doctor will use the needle to remove an sample of cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF.

The CSF is a fluid that surrounds your spinal cord. It helps your body maintain its homeostasis.

How do I?

How long does it take for a lumbar puncture to happen?

The procedure takes about 10 minutes.

How the lumbar puncture goes in?

The lumbar puncture procedure typically takes place at a hospital or a clinic.

The doctor will use a spinal needle to insert the needle into the lower back. They’ll use a syringe to remove the CSF sample.

The doctor will place a bandage on the puncture site and will send you to the recovery room.

What happens after a lumbar puncture?

The doctor will send you to the recovery room.

They’ll monitor your vital signs, such as your heart rate and blood pressure. They’ll also check your pain level.

They’ll also observe your behavior and how you respond to touch. You may feel some soreness or weakness.

You shouldn’t drive for 24 hours.

You can go home the same day.

You should arrange for someone to drive you home.

How long does it take for the lumbar puncture to clear up?

The symptoms of a lumbar puncture usually clear up within a few days.

How could a lumbar puncture go wrong?

Lumbar puncture complications

Lumbar puncture complications are rare. They can include:

Poor wound healing. A lumbar puncture can cause a bruise or a hematoma. This can be serious.
Infection. In rare cases, a lumbar puncture can cause an infection.

If you’re experiencing any of these complications, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection.

What’s the recovery like?

You’ll need to take it easy for a few days. This is often referred to as the “sick day.”

You can take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Advil) and acetaminophen (Tylenol), to help with any pain or discomfort.

You can also take a pain reliever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), if you can’t sleep.

You may not be able to do your usual activities for several days. It’s OK to take a few days off from work.

You shouldn’t lift anything heavier than 5 pounds for a few days.

You should also avoid taking hot showers for about a week.

You should also avoid sex for about 2 weeks.

After the procedure, you’ll need to have a follow-up visit with your doctor.

These are the most common follow-up visits, in order of frequency:

  1. Days: The doctor checks your vital signs and checks the puncture site. They also do a physical exam.
  2. Weeks: The doctor reviews your lab results and takes a chest X-ray if there’s an abnormality.
  3. Months: The doctor might suggest a repeat MRI or CT scan.

You should also have a follow-up physical exam after a lumbar puncture.

How long does it take for the pain to subside?

Depending on the pain you feel, it may take a few days or a few weeks to feel better.

You may need to use over-the-counter pain relievers for a few days to help with any pain.

You should rest for the first few days after the procedure because you may have stiffness or weakness.

You should also avoid lifting anything heavy for a few days.

How long does it take for the headache to subside?

The time it takes for the headache to subside depends on the type of headache you have.

The headache will be gone within a few days or a few weeks.

If you have a migraine, you may need to take a triptan to help with any pain or nausea.

You may also need to take an anti-inflammatory medication, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), to help with any pain.

What about the fever?

A fever may be caused by the CSF itself, or by the doctor’s reaction to the CSF. It usually peaks within 24 hours.

It usually goes away in a few days or a few weeks.

Can I drive again?

You may not be able to drive for 24 hours after a lumbar puncture. You’ll need someone to drive you home.

It may be OK to drive to work the next day.

What about my work?

You need to avoid lifting any heavy objects for a few days.

You may also be advised to avoid sexual activity for a few weeks.

You may be able to resume your usual activities after a few weeks.

What about my personal life?

It’s not unusual for people who have had a lumbar puncture to have a personal reaction.

A severe reaction can include:

  • Fainting
  • A change in personality
  • A headache
  • A rash on your face

It can take a few weeks to get over this reaction.

What about my insurance?

If you have a private insurance plan, you might need to get a letter from your doctor’s office that confirms that you’re OK to go home after a lumbar puncture.

In addition, if you have Medicare or a Medicaid plan, you’ll also need to obtain a letter from your doctor’s office that confirms that you’re OK to go home.

How long after a lumbar puncture?

A lumbar puncture usually takes place within 24 hours of the procedure.

The effects of the procedure usually clear up within a few days.

However, if you have a severe reaction, it can take a few weeks for the symptoms to clear up.

Is there anything I should avoid?

It’s not uncommon for people to have a reaction to the CSF. However, this reaction can vary from one person to another.

While there’s no way to predict which reactions you might have, here’s a list of things to avoid:

  • Using alcohol or illegal drugs.
  • Using aspirin.
  • Taking NSAIDS.
  • Taking pain relievers that contain acetaminophen.
  • Taking medications that contain ibuprofen.
  • Taking an antihistamine.
  • Taking an anti-inflammatory.
  • Taking a pain reliever.
  • Taking a pain reliever that contains aspirin.

It’s also important to avoid getting a reaction to the needle.

If you do have a reaction, you may feel:

  • A change in mood
  • An itching feeling
  • A burning feeling
  • A change in vision
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

It’s also possible to develop meningitis, a potentially serious infection that can cause brain swelling and brain damage.

What are the risks?

There’s a risk of infection with a lumbar puncture. The risk is higher if you have a fever or if you’ve had a reaction to the CSF.

If you have a reaction, you may have headache, fever, or a rash.

It’s also possible for you to experience a seizure.

What’s the long-term outlook?

If you get a lumbar puncture, you’ll be evaluated by a doctor.

Next steps

  • Talk with your doctor about your symptoms.
  • Lumbar puncture

Images by Freepik

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