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A lumbar puncture, also called a spinal tap, is an image-guided procedure performed on the lower back which removes fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord to examine it for cancer cells or infection. This fluid is called cerebrospinal fluid or CSF and is a clear liquid that delivers nutrients to the brain and cushions the spinal cord and brain. A lumbar puncture may also be performed to inject medication into this the spinal column. Children and adolescents are usually given anesthesia or sedation before a lumbar puncture is performed.
The following video demonstrates a lumbar puncture in a child undergoing cancer treatment. This video was designed to educate parents and caregivers by showing an actual patient being accessed for treatment. Our intent with this video is to help you, and your child if you chose to show it to them, understand what will happen when your child has this procedure.