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April 1929


Arch Derm Syphilol. 1929;19(4):651-658. doi:10.1001/archderm.1929.02380220120006

The course of medical progress has been punctuated by the successive invasions of the most secluded and vital regions of the living human body. One by one, canals and cavities hitherto held inviolable have been penetrated by the probe, the trocar and the searchlight, until today even the interior of the beating heart itself is no longer forbidden ground for the trespassing weapons of the surgeon. Among the more recent of these explorations, the procedure known as cisternal or suboccipital puncture seems destined to play an important rôle in the practice of the neurologist and the syphilologist.

The term "cistern puncture" denotes the introduction of a needle into the cisterna magna, situated between the medulla and the cerebellum. It is usually performed for the purpose of obtaining spinal fluid.

The origin of this little operation may be traced back to Quincke, the father of lumbar puncture (1890), who, in the

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