Preparation for Procedure
Welcome and thank you for choosing Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center for your procedure. Our physicians, nurses and technologists are dedicated to providing highly skilled and compassionate care for you and your family. We understand that you may be apprehensive about your procedure. We hope the following information will be helpful to you as you prepare for the procedure and during your recovery.
The Radiology department is located on the 3rd floor of Memorial’s Main Building.
We want to make your experience as comfortable as possible. If you have any questions or concerns that are not answered here, please do not hesitate to call your physician or the Radiology department at 814-534-9166.
Before Your Procedure
Your physician’s office will schedule the date and time of your procedure with Central Scheduling. If you can’t remember when you are scheduled please call your physician or the Radiology Department at (814) 534-9166 between 7:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays.
If you have questions about your insurance coverage or pre-certification, call your insurance company. If you are not covered by insurance, please make arrangements for payment by calling the business office at (814) 410-8470.
Your physician may also order laboratory tests which will be done the day of the procedure. You will also be asked about any bleeding problems you may have.
You will need to stop taking all of your blood thinners 5 days prior to your procedure. This includes Coumadin, Plavix, Aspirin, Heparin, and Lovenox. Please contact Radiology at 814-534-9166 for further instructions or any questions you may have.
If you develop a cough, cold, abnormal temperature, sore throat, flu-like symptoms; or come in contact with anyone suffering from measles, chickenpox or any other communicable disease within 2 weeks prior to your procedure please call your physician. It may be necessary to reschedule your procedure for a time when you are feeling better.
You will not be allowed to eat or drink after midnight.
On the Morning of Your Procedure
Do not take any medication on the morning of your procedure unless instructed to take it by the physician or nurse. If they instruct you to take any medications the morning of your procedure; you may take them with a sip of water. If you are taking diabetic medications please check with your physician.
Shower or bathe the morning of your procedure. Do not use any lotion, creams, or powder on your body. Wear loose fitting, clean, comfortable clothing and flat shoes. Do not bring any valuables with you.
You may be accompanied by one adult family member or friend. Children should not accompany adults having a procedure. Because you are not permitted to drive after your procedure, an adult must accompany you to take you home.
Please bring any order that your physician’s office provided for you. If you were not contacted by pre-registration please bring your identification and insurance cards.
Bring any requested x-ray, CT, or MRI images with you on the day of the procedure.
Day of the Procedure
Parking is available in the parking garage on Franklin Street or you can use the valet at the Main Entrance on Franklin Street. Please bring your parking ticket with you to receive a token for free parking in the garage.
When you arrive at the hospital on the day of your procedure, check in at the Ambulatory Surgery Desk. It is located on the first floor of Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center. As you arrive through the main entrance on Franklin Street, turn right just before you enter the Atrium. You will be registered for your procedure and escorted to the Ambulatory Surgery Department.
When you arrive on the unit you will be given a hospital gown to wear. Healthcare professionals will be available in this area to make you comfortable and to answer your questions. Your safety is our number one priority.
The staff may ask you the same questions several times; they will ask your name, birth date, what procedure you are having done, your medications and your allergies. By repeating our questions, we are verifying and re-verifying very important information to ensure that your time with us is as safe as possible. A registered nurse will do an assessment and you will have intravenous lock started. Please be prepared to tell your nurse when you last took each of your medications.
During Your procedure
You will be seen by an Interventional Radiologist or Physician’s Assistant. Your physician will ask you to sign a consent form, which legally permits your physician to perform your procedure.
You will be taken by cart to the procedure room and helped onto the table. . The people around you in the room will be preparing for your procedure. You will either lie on your side with your knees drawn up toward your chest or on your stomach with a pillow under your abdomen. This helps widen the spaces between the vertebrae for easier insertion of the needle. The physician marks your lower back in the lumbar area where they will perform the puncture. Your back is cleaned and you are covered with sterile towels.
Medicine is given to numb the skin near the injection site. If fluoroscopy (x-ray imaging) is to be used, a contrast “dye” may be injected into your back. This helps get a better image. Then a long thin needle is inserted into the spinal canal. This is the area outside the spinal cord but inside the vertebral canal of the spinal column. It does not touch the spinal cord. If it touches one of your spinal nerves it causes a tingling feeling running down your legs. The stylet or central core of the needle is removed and a small amount of cerebrospinal fluid should drip from the end of the needle. If not the needle will need repositioned or reinserted in another location. Using fluoroscopy generally ensures correct placement.
The physician collects up to several tubes of fluid to check for color, protein, glucose, blood, infection or other substances. This is sent to the lab for analysis. This allows the physician to diagnose the health of the brain and spinal cord. The pressure of the fluid is also is measured at the beginning and end of the procedure. The needle is removed and the puncture site is cleaned and bandaged.
The entire procedure takes about 30 minutes.
The physician will speak with you or your family about the preliminary results immediately after procedure is finished. The results of your blood work won’t be available.
Your time in the procedure room will vary between 30 minutes to 45 minutes, allowing for prep time and recovery.
After Your Procedure
After your procedure you will be taken to an Ambulatory Surgery Room. To lower your chance of getting a headache following a lumbar puncture, you may be told to lie flat in bed or with your head slightly raised for 1 to 4 hours.
During this time the nurse will monitor your blood pressure, pulse, temperature, your breathing and the injection site for one hour. If you have received a local anesthesia only, you may be discharged once you’re permitted to sit up. Your time in Ambulatory Surgery will vary depending on the procedure you had done, how well you are doing, how comfortable you are.
Once you are stable your physician will be contacted to order your discharge. Your intravenous lock will be removed.
The nurse will give you instructions and you will be discharged to the care of a friend or family member – you will need an adult available to drive you home. Your written discharge instructions will include information on post procedural care. This may include restrictions on activity such as driving or lifting for 24 hours.
You will also be instructed on when to resume your medication. They will also include a list of symptoms that would require you to notify your physician. This includes fever over 101 degrees. If you develop a headache after you are discharged notify your physician immediately. There may be treatment available.
You should rest for the remainder of the day after your procedure. You may be told to drink extra fluids after the procedure to help prevent or to reduce the severity of a headache. Eat a light meal. Avoid alcohol for at least 24 hours following your procedure.
Thank-you for allowing us to take care of you during your lumbar puncture.