Spinal Tap Fears? Tap Into the Familiar

To allay patients' fears about lumbar puncture (LP), ask whether they or anyone they know has ever had an epidural injection during childbirth.

 

To allay patients' fears about lumbar puncture (LP), ask whether they or anyone they know has ever had an epidural injection during childbirth. Explain that an LP is nearly identical except that the needle goes in slightly deeper and removes fluid instead of delivering an anesthetic. Patients are often more familiar with "epidurals" than with LPs and seem to fear them less.

-D. Brady Pregerson, MD
  Los Angeles