The technique of lumbar puncture was described by Quincke more than 75 years ago.1(p309-312) This method, therefore, has been available to the practitioner of medicine for three quarters of a century and has achieved increasing importance in medical diagnosis and treatment.
Originally, lumbar puncture was conceived as a means of treating hydrocephalus and for the detection of tuberculosis of the central nervous system. The brilliance of the discovery by Quincke is obvious. A translation of the description of his technique, and a subsequent description of the dynamics of the cerebrospinal fluid by Queckenstedt, some 30 years later,1(p301-308) have become available recently in Wilkins' Neurosurgical Classics for English-speaking physicians. Quincke could have had little concept of the increasing value of his discovery in 1882, since many of the uses to which the technique have been put have necessarily awaited other broad discoveries and the development of new concepts of