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Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2010 Feb;54(2):252-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-6576.2009.02112.x. Epub 2009 Oct 15.

Real-time ultrasound-guided spinal anesthesia in patients with a challenging spinal anatomy: two case reports.

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Department of Anesthesia, Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada.


Spinal anesthesia may be challenging in patients with poorly palpable surface landmarks or abnormal spinal anatomy. Pre-procedural ultrasound imaging of the lumbar spine can help by providing additional anatomical information, thus permitting a more accurate estimation of the appropriate needle insertion site and trajectory. However, actual needle insertion in the pre-puncture ultrasound-assisted technique remains a 'blind' procedure. We describe two patients with an abnormal spinal anatomy in whom ultrasound-assisted spinal anesthesia was unsuccessful. Successful dural puncture was subsequently achieved using a technique of real-time ultrasound-guided spinal anesthesia. This may be a useful option in patients in whom landmark-guided and ultrasound-assisted techniques have failed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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