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Multiple Sclerosis and the Spinal Tap

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Is a Spinal Tap Safe?

Yes. But just like most tests, there are a few minor risks. These include:

  • Headache. About 10% of people get a spinal headache -- one that gets worse when you sit or stand and feels better instantly when you lie down. If you get one, lie down as much as possible and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Infection. But the risk is very low.
  • Bloody tap. Sometimes the procedure may pierce a small blood vessel, so blood mixes in with the CSF. You won’t need treatment for it, but in some cases, you may need another spinal tap later on to get a "clear" sample.

Call your doctor right away if you notice any unusual drainage, including bloody discharge, or pain that gets worse.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Richard Senelick, MD on February 25, 2015
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