How It Is Done continued...
You will need
to take off jewelry that might be in the way of the X-ray picture. You may need
to take off all or most of your clothes above the waist (you may be allowed to
keep on your underwear if it does not get in the way of the test). You will be
given a gown to wear during the test.
During the test
You will have a lumbar puncture to put the dye into your spinal
canal. You will lie on your stomach or side on an X-ray table. The doctor
cleans an area on your lower back. A numbing medicine is put into your skin.
After the area is numb,
a thin needle is put into the spinal canal and a stream of X-rays
(fluoroscopy) is used to help the doctor place the needle in the right area. A
sample of spinal canal fluid may be taken
before the dye is put in the canal.
After the dye is put in, you
will lie still while the X-ray pictures are taken.
pictures are taken, a small bandage is put on your back where the needle
was put in. You will be told what to do after the test.
After the test
This test usually takes 30
minutes to 1 hour.
You may need to lie in bed with your head raised for 4 to 24 hours after the
test. To prevent seizures, do not bend over or lie down with your head lower
than your body.
Avoid strenuous activity, such as running or heavy lifting, for at least 1 day after the test.
Drink plenty of water afterward. Your
doctor will give you instructions on taking your regular medicines.
How It Feels
You will feel a quick sting from the
small needle used to numb the skin on your back. You will feel some pressure as
the long, thin spinal needle is put into your spinal canal. You may feel a
quick sharp pain down your buttock or leg when the needle is moved in your
spine. You may find it hard to lie on your stomach or side during this
The dye may make you feel warm and flushed and leave a
metallic taste in your mouth. Some people feel sick to their stomach or have a
headache. Tell your doctor how you are feeling.