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Comparison of Sprotte and Quincke Needles with Respect to Post Dural Puncture Headache and Backache
  1. Pekka Juhani Tarkkila, M.D.,
  2. Hannele Heine, M.D. and
  3. Raija-Riitta Tervo, M.D.
  1. From the Department of Anesthesia, Tampere University Hospital, and the Department of Clinical Sciences, University of Tampere, Finland.
  1. Address correspondence to Pekka Juhani Tarkkila, M.D., Department of Clinical Sciences, Department of Anesthesia, University of Tampere, P.O. Box 607, SF-33101 Tampere, Finland.


Objective. The objective of this study was to compare 24-gauge Sprotte and 25-gauge Quincke needles with respect to post dural puncture headache and backache.

Methods. Three hundred ASA Physical Status I or II patients scheduled for minor orthopedic or urologic operations under spinal anesthesia were chosen for this randomized, prospective study at a univeristy hospital and a city hospital. Anesthetic technique, intravenous fluids, and postoperative pain therapy were standardized. Patients were randomly divided into three equal groups. Spinal anesthesia was performed with either a 24-gauge Sprotte needle or a 25-gauge Quincke needle with the cutting bevel parallel or perpendicular to the dural fibers.

Results. Anesthesia could not be performed in three cases with the Sprotte needle and in one case with the Quincke needle. The most common complications were post dural puncture backache (18.0%), post dural puncture headache (8.2%), and non-postural headache (6.7%). No major complications occurred. The Quincke needle with bevel perpendicular to the dural fibers caused a 17.9% incidence of post dural puncture headache. The Quincke with bevel parallel to the dural fibers and the Sprotte needles caused similar post dural puncture headache rates (4.5% and 2.4%, respectively). Other factors associated with post dural puncture headache were young age, early ambulation, and sedation during spinal anesthesia. There were no significant differences between needles in the incidence of post dural puncture backache.

Conclusion. Our data indicate that Quincke needles should not be used with the needle bevel inserted perpendicular to the dural fibers. The Sprotte needle does not solve the problem of post dural puncture headache and backache.

  • Anesthesia
  • spinal
  • complications
  • technique.

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  • The authors thank Seppo Kaukinen, M.D., for revision of the manuscript and Jorma Isola, M.D., for help in statistical procedures.