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Neurology. 2012 Jan 10;78(2):109-13. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e31823efca9. Epub 2011 Dec 28.

Cost comparison between the atraumatic and cutting lumbar puncture needles.

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Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA.



The aim of this study was to determine which type of spinal needle is preferred from a cost perspective, taking into account costs of the spinal needle and treatment of postlumbar puncture headache.


A decision-analytic model was created to determine the cost of diagnostic lumbar punctures using atraumatic and cutting needles. We assumed a health care system perspective and based the analysis on the treatment of a patient facing event probabilities derived from prior studies. The economic outcome measure was the difference in estimated costs between the 2 needles. One-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses tested the robustness of the model.


Lumbar puncture performed with the atraumatic needle is associated with an average cost savings of $26.07 per patient. Average total health care costs are $166.08 with the atraumatic needle, compared to $192.15 with the cutting needle. There is 94% certainty that the atraumatic needle is cost-saving compared to the cutting needle based on probabilistic sensitivity analysis. Use of the atraumatic needle over the cutting needle by neurologists alone may result in $10.4 million in cost savings to the US health care system per year.


The atraumatic spinal needle is associated with an overall cost savings to the US health care system. The balance of costs and benefits favors the use of the atraumatic needle over the cutting needle for diagnostic lumbar puncture.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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