Lumbar Puncture Preparation

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Instructions for Patients

St. Mary's Regional Medical Center
Dept. of Imaging Services


Basic Instructions

  • Please arrange for a ride home after your lumbar puncture.
  • Drink extra fluids the day before
  • No solid foods from midnight on, if lumbar puncture is scheduled for the morning.
  • Drink extra fluids (no caffeine) up to 2 hours before exam.
  • 2 hours before exam – NPO (If medications needed, take only with swallow of water.)
  • Please arrive 45 minutes before scheduled lumbar puncture appointment. Go to the Lobby
  • Registration office first then report to the 2nd floor Outpatient Department.
  • Plan on 2 to 3 hours from arrival to discharge.
  • On the ride home, the back of the seat should be in the full reclining position rather than straight up. It is important to lie as flat as possible to help prevent a bad headache.

Special Instructions  

  1. For those taking Blood Thinners:

  • If you are taking any of these medications: Coumadin®, Janotven®, Plavix®, Brilanta®, Pradaxa®, it is necessary to stop taking them for 5 days prior to lumbar puncture. Consult with your physician who prescribed this for you.
  • If you are on Enoxaparin (Lovenox®) or Rivaroxaban (Xarelto®), stop taking this medicine during the 24 hour period before the procedure. (Consult with the physician who prescribed this for you.)
  • If you have been taking blood thinners, you will need to have an INR lab test done the day before the lumbar puncture. This test can be done at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center or at the lab in the Auburn Medical Building located at the corner of  Gracelawn and Turner Road in Auburn.
  • The results of the INR must be within normal limits to prevent bleeding at the injection site.

  2. For Patients with Allergies:

  • If you have any allergies to latex, please be sure to tell your doctor.
  • If you have questions about these instructions, or if you have questions about your lumbar puncture, please call the Radiology Department at (207) 777-8482.

    DMK 3-15-13
© 2016 St. Mary's Regional Medical Center 93 Campus Avenue, Lewiston, Maine 04240 Phone: 207-777-8100