What are the absolute contraindications for a lumbar puncture (LP)?

Updated: Aug 02, 2018
  • Author: Gil Z Shlamovitz, MD, FACEP; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
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Answer

Absolute contraindications for lumbar puncture are the presence of infected skin over the needle entry site and the presence of unequal pressures between the supratentorial and infratentorial compartments. The latter is usually inferred from the following characteristic findings on computed tomography (CT) of the brain:

  • Midline shift

  • Loss of suprachiasmatic and basilar cisterns

  • Posterior fossa mass

  • Loss of the superior cerebellar cistern

  • Loss of the quadrigeminal plate cistern


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