Lumbar puncture needle

Hi All,

I read somewhere (maybe on this site) about there being two types of needle that can be used to perform a lumbar puncture and the writer said you should request a particular one as it was less likely to result in headaches, sickness etc. Unfortunately I can’t find the article again. Does anyone know of this? Is the request a reasonable one? A bit worried because advice from members I’ve read on here says you should lie flat for six hours and my local hospital and the NHS website say you’re good to go after an hour.

I know the saying “No pain, no gain” but I’m firmly of the “no pain, no pain” camp :wink:


Hello, I dont know the answer to your question but just wanted to say hi. I have got to have one of these too but haven’t got a date. Are you worried about it? i’m hoping it will be just like a spinal block which i’ve had with a section and i don’t remember it being too bad?

Hello, I wasn’t offered different size needles when I had mine done in early August. In all honesty I was petrified but it wasn’t bad at all. I had to lie flat for about an hour afterwards and honestly it was all ok. The consultant said it was the only time a doctor will tell you to drink lots of coffee! I had a slight headache after but I think that was down to stress!

Louelle, it is similar to a spinal block but takes a bit longer as the fluid drips out quite slowly. Hope that helps.

That’s reassuring to know! So are you still waiting for your results then?

No, I actually got some of the results the very next day. The neurologist rang and asked me to go into hospital and he told me that there were a lot of white blood cells and protein in the CSF which is abnormal and that he was fairly sure I have MS. He said we have to rule everything else out first but I’m pretty sure that’s what it is. They also do a blood test after they have done the lumbar puncture. They test for oligoclonal bands in the CSF which take about 2 weeks to come back. I have oligoclonal bands in the CSF but not the serum. I have had a lot of other tests, Lyme disease, B12, HIV basically everything that can mimic ms. Just waiting for neurologist to get in touch with the results and hopefully a diagnosis.

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It’s my daughter who is having the procedure - today actually. I live abroad and I can’t be with her at the moment so, as you can imagine, it’s difficult. I’ll let you know how she gets on. Hope all goes well for you.

I did find the reference to needles: “There is a lower risk of headaches and infections following lumbar puncture if the clinician uses a special atraumatic needle, sometimes called a Sprotte needle. These are not always commonly used, but they are recommended for use by the BMJ and you can ask if you are concerned.” This was on MS Trust site.

Thanks for this reassuring response x

Sorry it’s too late, but all the details are in the useful Barts guide.

Hi - I know I’m a bit late responding, but the doctor who did my lumbar puncture said that they found that if they reinserted the needle and removed it again straight after taking the fluid, then people didn’t get the headache afterwards. I lay flat for quite a short time, then went home and didn’t get a headache at all, fortunately. He said that they don’t know why this seems to work, but it does. Hope this helps anyone else who is awaiting a lumbar puncture.