Lumbar Puncture Course: LP Course

Lumbar puncture (or spinal tap) is a procedure used to obtain cerebrospinal fluid for CSF analysis and to measure the opening pressure.  The lumbar puncture course uses an advanced simulator to teach students proper lumbar puncture technique in both the lateral decubitus postion and the sitting position and how to measure the opening pressure.  Students will feel the “pop” or loss of resistance when the spinal needle penetrates the dura.  Our lumbar puncture training also covers when a lumbar puncture can be safely performed in a patient receiving antiplatelet, antithrombotic, or anticoagulant medications.  Finally, the course covers how to manage lumbar puncture complications should they occur.

Our lumbar puncture training is a component of our live Hospitalist and Emergency Procedures CME course which teaches clinicians how to perform the 20 most essential procedures needed to work in the ER, ICU, and hospital wards.

CLICK HERE to find out more about our premier live Hospitalist and Emergency Procedures CME course

Lumbar Puncture Course

Lumbar Puncture Lab Photos

Lumbar Puncture Video

Lumbar Puncture Video


Lumbar Puncture course trains students in:

  • Indications for a diagnostic lumbar puncture
  • Indications for a therapeutic lumbar puncture
  • Contraindication for a lumbar puncture
  • Complications of a lumbar puncture
  • Equipment for a lumbar puncture
  • When to get a CT scan of the head prior to a lumbar puncture
  • Proper positioning and technique for a lumbar puncture
  • Ultrasound-guided lumbar puncture
  • Cerebrospinal fluid analysis
  • Coding for a lumbar puncture

Lumbar Puncture Photos

Lumbar Puncture Reference Card

Lumbar Puncture Reference Card

Lumbar Puncture Reference Card

More information about Lumbar Puncture

If you're a medical student or a practicing physician you'll likely have some advanced understanding of the Lumbar Puncture Procedure, in which case we encourage you to consider attending our Lumbar Puncture course to receive CME and Trauma CME credits if your medical license requires you to maintain continuing medical education credits each year.

We're including additional information pertaining to Lumbar Puncture or Spinal Tap procedures for our site users who are either from a non-medical background and are seeking to learn more about the procedure or for medical industry workers looking to familiarize themselves with the process and expand upon their medical knowledge.

Are you scheduled to have a Lumbar Puncture performed?

We encourage any patient who needs to undergo a lumbar puncture procedure to research the procedure before treatment if possible.  Many patients experience anxiety, nervousness, or fear when a physician explains that they will need to have a lumbar puncture performed.  Our Lumbar Puncture video may be helpful or interesting to you if you will be having a lumbar puncture performed.

There is a common misconception that a lumbar puncture is a typically painful procedure - this misconception may be attributed to the decidedly intimidating procedural names "Lumbar Puncture" or "Spinal Tap".  Most patients actually report experiencing very little to no pain in most cases.  Of course each case is different and individual experience may vary from patient to patient, but a lumbar puncture is typically a reasonably comfortable procedure for the patient.  It is common for patients to report that the anxiety of anticipating the procedure is often worse than the procedure itself.  Patients often report that the administration of the numbing medication (which is typically only mildly discomforting) is actually more uncomfortable than the procedure itself.

In some cases a lumbar puncture may need to be performed in an emergency room setting by an emergency room physician, in other cases a physician such as a Neurologist may choose to schedule a patient for a procedure in their private office. 

Lumbar Puncture for Diagnosis

A lumbar puncture (also referred to as spinal tap) is most commonly performed for diagnostic purposes including the diagnosis of some nervous system-related diseases,  brain bleeding, spinal or brain tumors, and cranial pressure.

Other Lumbar Puncture Purposes

Some medical procedures or diagnostic tests may require a Lumbar Puncture to assist in the procedure either by administering medications or diagnostic dyes.

Ask the Experts

To ask an HPC physician directly about the Lumbar Puncture procedure we invite you to visit us at our Facebook page at  We encourage questions from physicians, nurses, patients, or anybody else with medical related questions.  We also invite you to visit our videos section for more information about the Lumbar Puncture procedure.

If you have questions about the Lumbar Puncture procedure you should ask either your primary care physician or any physician who you've been referred to for the procedure to explain lumbar puncture to you.  They will also be able to provide you with any necessary preparation instructions for the appointment and they'll also advise of proper post-procedural care.

Lumbar Puncture Blogs

Which cirrhotic patients are at high risk for bleeding during hospital procedures?

by Joseph Esherick, M.D., FAAFP, FHM

This blog will offer some expert recommendations to help guide the safety of hospital procedures at different platelet and coagulation profiles.

Guidelines for Antiplatelet and Anticoagulation Discontinuation before a Lumbar Puncture

by Joseph Esherick, M.D., FAAFP, FHM

This blog summarizes the guidelines by the European Society of Anesthesiology (ESA), the American Society of Regional Anesthesiologists (ASRA) and the Association of British Neurologists regarding the timing of antiplatelet and anticoagulation discontinuation before a lumbar puncture.

Bedside Ultrasound Increases the Success Rate for Difficult Lumbar Punctures

by Joseph Esherick, M.D., FAAFP, FHM

The traditional landmark-guided needle lumbar puncture technique was first described by Heinrich Quincke in 1891 This technique utilizes the...

Periprocedural Bleeding Risk for Thrombocytopenia, Coagulopathy, Antiplatelets and Anticoagulation

by Joseph Esherick, M.D., FAAFP, FHM

This blog summarizes the 2019 Society of Interventional Radiology for Periprocedural Management of Image-guided Procedures with regards to thrombocytopenia, coagulopathies, antiplatelets and anticoagulation

Hospitalist and Emergency Procedures CME Courses Available

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  1. 12 month online access to Online CME course, procedure video bundle, instructional posters
  2. Indefinite online access to PDFs of all course lectures, course handouts, and HPC Adult Critical Care and Emergency Drug Reference Drug