Background This technical report describes a durable, low-cost, anatomically accurate, and easy-to-prepare combined ultrasound (US) and fluoroscopic phantom of the cervical spine. This phantom is meant to augment training in US- and fluoroscopic-guided pain medicine procedures.
Methods The combined US and fluoroscopic phantom (CUF-P) is prepared from commercially available liquid plastic that is ordinarily used to prepare synthetic fishing lures. The liquid plastic is heated and then poured into a metal canister that houses an anatomical cervical spine model. Drops of dark purple dye are added to make the phantom opaque. After cooling, tubing is attached to the CUF-P to simulate blood vessels.
Results The CUF-P accurately simulates human tissue by imitating both the tactile texture of skin and the haptic resistance of human tissue as the needle is advanced. This phantom contains simulated fluid-filled vertebral arteries that exhibit pulsed flow under color Doppler US. Under fluoroscopic examination, the CUF-P–simulated vertebral arteries also exhibit uptake of contrast dye if mistakenly injected.
Conclusions The creation of a training phantom allows the pain physician to practice needle positioning technique while simultaneously visualizing both targeted and avoidable vascular structures under US and fluoroscopic guidance. This low-cost CUF-P is easy to prepare and is reusable, making it an attractive alternative to current homemade and commercially available phantom simulators.
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This study was supported by the Yale New Haven Hospital Resident Education Fund.
This information was presented as an abstract at the spring 2010 Annual ASRA Regional Anesthesia Pain Meeting, Toronto, Canada.