Exactly where in the vertebral column is a lumbar puncture generally done?

In the canal. A lumbar puncture is typically used to get cerebrospinal fluid from the spinal canal. It includes a needle inserted in the back between the spinous processes and lamina of the spine and then through the dura - which is the blood brain barrier around the nerves. Generally, the puncture is performed around the l4-5 levels.
L45 or L5S1. It is done low in the back, well below the point where the spinal cord itself has ended. At the level of the lp, the spinal canal has nerve roots floating in it, but there is no spinal cord to accidentally puncture.

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