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Agri. 2012;24(2):85-9. doi: 10.5505/agri.2012.88700.

Comparison of blunt and sharp needles for transforaminal epidural steroid injections.

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Department of Anesthesiology and Reanimation, Uludag University Faculty of Medicine, Bursa, Turkey.



The aim of this study was to compare the sharp and blunt needles in order to determine the incidence of complications during transforaminal anterior epidural steroid injections.


In this retrospective study, 185 cases that undergo transforaminal epidural steroid injection with sharp or blunt needles were evaluated between June 2004 and December 2008. Patients age, sex, diagnosis, needle type (sharp or blunt), volume of local anesthetic and steroid injected, complications (paresthesia, dural puncture, bleeding, paralysis, intravascular penetration, headache, local back pain, temporary motor loss in lower extremities) was recorded.


3 cases in blunt needle group and 8 cases in sharp needle group showed paresthesia during the procedure. The difference was not found to be significant among the groups. Vascular penetration was observed in 2 cases in blunt and 13 cases in sharp needle group and the difference between groups was statistically significant (p<0.001). Dural puncture and headache incidence were not significant when the two groups are compared. The local back pain at the injection site had a higher incidence in the blunt needle group.


When using the blunt needles, vascular penetration and paresthesia were less during transforaminal epidural steroid injections. Therefore blunt needles seem to be more advantageous.

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