Lumber puncture

Hi after my recent consultation with my neuro I have to havea lumber puncture and have to see a neurophyscologist to test my memory what does all this mean

Hi Steven, I think you’re new on here… so welcome!

Lumbar puncture is a very common procedure to help neuro’s work out if you have MS.

As you know, there is not one single test for MS. They put together loads of bits of info to try and diagnose (dx) you… that is your symptoms, how your body has responded to physical tests (reflexes etc) and what they found on the MRI scan. IF they are still not sure if you have MS they then do a lumbar puncture.

They take a small amount of fluid from the base of your spine and a blood test.

They then test the fluid and the blood.

If they find that your immune system has been active in your central nervous system (located in your brain where the fluid is made) but not in your blood, then that can mean MS. If your symptoms and MRI also indicate MS you will then get a dx of MS.

Most people… including me… don’t have any problem with the LP. They put a small amount of anesthetic on the base of your spine and then insert a very small needle and draw off some of the fluid. For the vast majority of people this is a painless procedure. The most you will feel is a pressure on the base of your spine… like someone is pressing on it with their thumb.

After they have drawn the fluid you will have to lie completely flat for about 3 hours. This is so the brain can make some more fluid. If you get up before then, you will get a very bad headache. Drinking caffeine also will help against getting a headache, so take some Coke or other caffeine drink with you.

You will then be able to go home.

The results can take a while to come, sometimes a few weeks, sometimes even longer.

It is a very useful way to get a dx (or not) if they are not entirely sure if it’s MS or not. It’s like the last piece of the puzzle.

I was dx through having an LP and glad I had it… was sick to death of being in limbo!

IF your LP gives a positive result and you are dx with MS, you will never have to have an LP again. Once it shows that the immune system has been active in your central nervous system, it will never change.

IF you get a negative result for the LP they might want to do another in a year or so. This is because they still think it is probably MS and want to see if they can get a positive result.

Hope all of that makes sense!!!

I don’t know about neurophyscologist… so hope someone else can fill you in on that.

Take care… and ask more questions if you have them,

Pat x