Curious what it is like to get a lumbar puncture? See what our participants have said about undergoing the procedure for research.
“My lumbar puncture occurred in February 2020, in association with the beginning of the LONGITUDINAL INNATE IMMUNITY AND AGING STUDY of Alzheimer’s disease
To say I was uneasy is a bit of an understatement. There are many erroneous notions bouncing around about a lumbar puncture, and through well-meaning friends, I think I heard them all.
But Katrina and her team were wonderful, helping to calm me down and reassure me that all would be well.
The procedure was explained in paperwork and videos before my arrival at the hospital, and by Rebecca and Katrina onsite. All of my questions were answered, and Rebecca offered the option of using a massage chair instead of lying on my side as shown in the video.
I did feel the initial “bee sting” of the needle injecting lidocaine, and nothing else. No pain, no headache, nothing—except enjoying a lively conversation amongst the three of us about New York City!
I rested comfortably in a darkened room for about 30 minutes afterward with Rebecca checking on me frequently—then was ready to go home.
My only suggestion for improvement—do this procedure earlier during the 4 hour appointment so anyone who is as uneasy as I was can relax!”February, 2020
“Helping with research into Alzheimer’s sounded like a great idea. I hate having blood drawn, yes, but for science I would do it; I didn’t have concerns about the MRI; but a lumbar puncture? Someone inserting a needle into my back? What if it hurt so much I couldn’t stand it? What if I ended up paralyzed for life? My son-in-law Mike was very concerned for me and wanted to know more. Here is what I learned and what my experience was.December, 2019
The old term “spinal tap” has left the vocabulary of this study for good reason. “Lumbar” means the very low back, well below where the spinal cord itself has ended in smaller nerves like a horse’s tail looks. The needle used is very small now, not like the spinal anesthesia over 40 years ago, and they take only a tiny amount of fluid out through the very tiny opening, which is just covered with a bandaid afterwards. If the needle were to touch a nerve, it most likely would just push it out of the way, not go in. So I told Mike this, and his concerns were taken care of.
I went into a cold room and lay face down on a massage chair, one just like they have in the malls. The very experienced and able technician prepared a small spot on my back with a sterile drape and injected a small amount of pain medicine just under the skin. From that point on, I can honestly say to all of you, “just relax” and enjoy the fact you can talk to a captive audience. Save up your best stories. The procedure was essentially entirely painless, to my surprise, and definitely was much better by far than having my blood drawn (although another technician had been excellent at that, too). Afterward, I lay flat under nice, warm blankets for about half an hour and then I was done. It was that simple. And I look forward to my return in two years”
“When I signed up for the program, I was somewhat apprehensive about the Lumbar Puncture especially after reading through your risk assessment. But I must tell you that the procedure was a breeze. First of all, the technician administering the test was absolutely on top of her game. She was experienced, knowledgeable and communicated about the process throughout the exercise. She put me totally at ease. The pain was almost non existent and there were absolutely no after affects. My apprehension prior to the event was totally for naught. I actually look forward to the follow-up procedure two years from now!”October, 2019
If you have undergone a lumbar puncture for our research and would like to submit a testimonial, please contact Katrina Bengtson at 303-724-2048 or firstname.lastname@example.org .