How should the surgical site be prepared 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

Use the skin swabs and antiseptic solution to clean the skin in a circular fashion, starting at the L3-L4 interspace and moving outward to include at least 1 interspace above and 1 below (see the video below). Just before applying the skin swabs, warn the patient that the solution is very cold; application of an unexpectedly cold solution can be unnerving for the patient.

Skin preparation. Video courtesy of Gil Z Shlamovitz, MD.

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