They tell us about their first lumbar puncture

By Héloïse Guillot  /   March 4th 2022

Lumbar puncture is a very common and invasive medical procedure. It is potentially painful and provokes anxiety for both the patient and the doctor. Medical students learn to perform this gesture by practicing directly on the patient and even today, about 1 in 2 students miss their first lumbar puncture.

InSimo invites you to discover the testimony of doctors and students, who dive back in the memory of their first lumbar puncture and tell us more about this key moment in their training.

Thomas Gautier, 22 years old, extern at Le Mans and Angers University Hospitals

Lumbar Puncture Training
I performed my first lumbar puncture during my first internship in neurology at Le Mans hospital, at the beginning of my 4th year of studies. The training at Angers simulation center was scheduled several months after this first puncture, so I had not been able to train on a simulator beforehand. However I had already attended six punctures before, so I was very comfortable with the procedure.
The stages of the patient’s preparation, the equipment, the disinfection ran through smoothly. However there is always a great apprehension when performing a first procedure (especially when it occurs at the start of externship) and I was very apprehensive when introducing the needle. I made a first attempt with an atraumatic needle which failed. I felt the vertebrate and couldn’t change the trajectory. I then tried again with a traumatic needle, but the problem was the same, I felt the bone. My intern then took over by modifying the trajectory, and was able to complete the procedure. Fortunately, the patient was calm and rather well reassured by the nursing team during the procedure. I think the training is quite adequate, but in my case, it would have been more effective if the simulation training had been organized earlier.

Any last advice?

You really need to see several lumbar punctures before doing the first one, to learn the procedure by imitation.
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