Atraumatic versus cutting needles in fluoroscopic lumbar puncture

Dana Yen Lin Lee, Warren Clements, Matthew Lukies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


OBJECTIVES: Atraumatic needles are known to reduce complication rates of blind lumbar punctures (LP), however, their use in fluoroscopically guided LP is less studied. This study assessed the comparative difficulty of performing fluoroscopic lumbar puncture with atraumatic needles. METHODS: Single-centre retrospective case-control study comparing atraumatic and conventional or "cutting" needles using fluoroscopic time and radiation dose (Dose Area Product or DAP) as surrogate markers. Patients were assessed from two comparable eight-month periods before and after a policy change to primary use of atraumatic needles. RESULTS: 105 procedures with a cutting needle were performed in the group prior to the policy change. Median fluoroscopy time was 48 sec and median DAP was 3.14. Of 102 procedures performed in the group after the policy change, 99 were performed with an atraumatic needle and three with a cutting needle after initial attempt with an atraumatic needle. Median fluoroscopy time was 41 sec and median DAP was 3.28. The mean number of attempts was 1.02 in the cutting needle group and 1.05 in the atraumatic needle group. There was no significant difference in median fluoroscopy time, median DAP, or mean number of attempts. CONCLUSION: Fluoroscopic screening time, DAP and mean number of attempts were not significantly increased with primary use of atraumatic needles for LP. Use of atraumatic needles should be considered in fluoroscopic LP given the lower complication rates. ADVANCES IN KNOWLEDGE: This study provides new data showing that the use of atraumatic needles does not increase the difficulty of fluoroscopically guided LP.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20220993
Number of pages1
JournalBritish Journal of Radiology
Issue number1146
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023

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