spinal tap advice

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spinal tap advice

Postby Mike56 » Fri Dec 04, 2009 1:16 pm

I got a spinal tap yesterday, and would like to offer some advice to anyone planning to get one. Insist that a radiologist or ultra sound tech. does the proceedure! My GP tried for an hour and couldn't get it. He had to refreeze me 3 times and poked me I don't know how manny times, no luck. He said he's never had trouble with this before. He finally gave up and contacted the on call ultra sound tech to give it a go. I nervously waited about 45 minutes for the tech to arrive. Well worth the wait! He mapped out the sweet spot with ultra sound, quickly froze the area with 3 quick jabs of the needle, and all I could feel was an odd pressure when he took the samples. All done in 3 or 4 mintues, no sweat. I wish my GP had arranged for the tech to do it in the first place, and so does my GP. When done by a pro who does it often, it's really no big deal.
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Postby jimmylegs » Fri Dec 04, 2009 1:32 pm

yeuks! so, how's your head after all that? (my neuro did mine at the hospital and that was bad enough - i don't even get my blood work done in my doc's office, let alone a lumbar puncture!)
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Postby Mike56 » Fri Dec 04, 2009 1:44 pm

Hi JL, I do have a headache, taking Tramicet for it, but it's no worse than the headaches I've been getting for the last couple of months. Drinking lots of coffee (as advised be the tech) to help replenish my spinal fluid. Actually, my back feels worse then my head. My wife was with me, she figures I got over 2 dozen puncture holes in all. I don't want to scare anyone though, my point is the proceedure can be a breeze if done by the right person. And the good news is I get the couch and control of the remote for the next couple days!

Mike
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Postby jimmylegs » Fri Dec 04, 2009 2:28 pm

if the headache persists (particularly if it is 'postural' ie fine lying down, incapacitating upright) you may want to get in touch with your docs.

here's why, in case you do not know already... if your healing is impaired the CSF will continue to leak and the pressure loss will make the headache pretty bad (if it's a postural one that is).

in my case the threat of a blood patch procedure was enough to keep me on bed rest for the weekend. it worked and the headache went away by monday.

if you can do the couch all weekend, you should be in decent shape!
Last edited by jimmylegs on Fri Dec 04, 2009 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby LoveActually » Fri Dec 04, 2009 2:36 pm

Thank you for the advice Mike. I've been able to avoid that little procedure thus far but if it ever comes up, I'll be sure to insist on a specialist who's familiar with the procedure.
October 29, 2009 - Dx with RRMS
June 22, 2010 - Dx's changed to Devic's (NMO)
January 4, 2011 - Dx w/Syringomyelia T4-T9, Migraines, and Possible MS (again - long story)
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Postby jimmylegs » Fri Dec 04, 2009 3:49 pm

LA in the event that you get one you may also want to refer to some older discussion here at TIMS... if you have not already...

to view the info, use the forum search - filtered on 'posts' - using these terms:

needle AND bevel AND orientation

results provide a list of posts (only one page to date) on this subject.
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Postby Mike56 » Sat Dec 05, 2009 9:30 am

Thanks JL
No headache today (so far) so I think I'm in the clear. Back is bruised but not real sore anymore, but surprisingly my inner arm is bruised where they took blood??? I've had blood samples taken dozens of times in the last 10 months...never had bruising before.

LA, follow JL's suggestions if you do have to get one. I did read warnings against getting it done 'freehand' so to speak, but my GP said "no problem, I can do that", and I went along with it. My mistake.
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Postby jimmylegs » Sat Dec 05, 2009 9:59 am

no probs, glad you're on the mend.
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Spinal taps are not routinely done everywhere

Postby Rebecca » Fri Dec 11, 2009 9:17 am

It's interesting that my docs never did a spinal tap on me. They did the endless blood tests (to rule out other things), MRIs and evoked potentials tests but no spinal tap. Here a lot of docs just avoid those spinal taps if at all possible.

As part of the health care debates, I been hearing that our state has some of the lower health care costs in the USA as well as an above average life expectancy.

It could be we avoid a lot of tests because we're frugal or don't like pain. In any case, I've had MS since 1991 and I think I'm glad that no one recommended a spinal tap. I cannot see why these spinal taps are so routinely used in other areas in the world.
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Postby shye » Thu Dec 24, 2009 3:47 pm

I didn't get it either--was told it is a risky test, and too many errors in results. Many doctors just use history and results from MRI, evoked potentials, etc.
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Postby ElMarino » Sat Dec 26, 2009 4:43 pm

My one took four attempts and brought on the worst relapse I ever did have.

One of my worst experiences.

I'd say, refuse it at the risk of missing a diagnoses of something worse than MS. If you feel you have to go through with it, ensure that whoever is performing the procedure has a great deal of experience.
Apologies for my terrible username. I never thought I'd use the forum much when I registered..
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Postby twistymirrors » Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:50 pm

When I had my first spinal tap it was done by a radiologist. He was very slow and didnt seem to care about hitting nerves that were extremely painful...ended up going back a few days later to get a blood patch...which hurt worse but only took 10 minutes. I would get a blood patch again because its better than dealing with the extreme low pressure headaches.
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