American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The insertion of a hollow needle beneath the arachnoid membrane of the spinal cord in the lumbar region to withdraw cerebrospinal fluid for diagnostic purposes or to administer medication.
- n. medicine A diagnostic and at times therapeutic procedure performed to collect a sample of cerebrospinal fluid for biochemical, microbiological, and cytological analysis, or rarely to relieve increased intracranial pressure.
- n. removal by centesis of fluid from the subarachnoid space of the lumbar region of the spinal cord for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes
“During the spinal tap, or lumbar puncture, a terrible medical mishap occurred: the lumbar puncture was made into what physicians refer to as the danger zone—the cauda equina—a group of nerve roots that send and receive messages to and from the lower abdominal organs and down into the legs.”
“Nevertheless, over a four-day period, Matthew was subjected to “a colonoscopy, a barium meal and follow-through, an MRI scan of his brain, a lumbar puncture . . . an EEG and other neurophysiological tests, and a variety of blood and urine tests.””
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