lumbar puncture results?

I am due to have a lp soon but i have no idea what a lp tells the neuro.

What are they looking for? What is an abnormal result? Is it just a positive/negative test like a blood test to rule out something? When my results come what should i be expecting as a normal and an abnormal result?

Hope this makes sense, i just don’t know what the test is for.



Oh and how long do the results usually take?


I’m not a medic, so bear with me! A lumbar puncture takes a small sample of spinal fluid which is then tested for abnormal proteins. This shows that the immune system has been at work in the central nervous system - they are looking for you testing positive for oligoclonal bands. So really, you are looking to test positive, not negative. BUT! It’s not a fool-proof test and is normally only used when a diagnosis of MS has not been confirmed by other tests, it just adds weight to your diagnosis. So if it comes back clear, there is still a chance you have MS.

If you would like a more ‘medical’ explanation, there is lots on this MS society website or MS Trust - just google. As for how long the results take, it really does depend! I called the hospital within a week as I couldn’t wait, lol. Sometimes your GP will also hear before you. Best thing to do perhaps is explain you would like to know the results as soon as possible and how can you find out. Get a telephone number and a clear idea of when you can call to find out. Sometimes you have to shout a little louder than everyone else!

Good luck!


Morning mrsgreen,

Ditto to everything that Choochy has said.

I already knew straight from the horses mouth that it was highly likely to be ms and I could have waited it out rather than have the LP - lots of people do. But although I knew the results could go either way and not necessarily mean much I didn’t want to drag the process out any longer than necessary. I was willing to take that chance.

The LP came back positive. Combined with my other test results it was the final piece of the puzzle which led to a firm dx of ms. So for me it was worth it.

If memory serves me correctly I think I had about a 3 or 4 week wait for the results. My neuro had already booked an appt for me so I received my dx directly from him.

Hope that helps. Let us know how you get on.

Good luck

Debbie xx

Hi mrsgreen, I’m sorry to say that my LP results took two months to come back! So I hope yours will be much quicker. Good Luck, Teresa xx

hi I posted on here yesterday about LP as secretary called to say daycase unit would be contacting me ASAP ref apt for one. the replies were helpful mrsgreen. this waiting is frustrating but I got some good advice about drinking lots of caffeine afterwards to help prevent headaches, think that has something to do with shrinking blood vessels? good luck mrsgreen let us know when u have a date or pm me. thinking off you x