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A randomized comparison between Accuro and palpation-guided spinal anesthesia for obese patients undergoing orthopedic surgery
  1. Daniela Ghisi1,
  2. Marco Tomasi2,
  3. Sandra Giannone1,
  4. Alessandra Luppi3,
  5. Lucia Aurini1,
  6. Letizia Toccaceli1,
  7. Andrea Benazzo4 and
  8. Stefano Bonarelli1
  1. 1 Anesthesia, Intensive Care and Pain Therapy, IRCCS Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli, Bologna, Italy
  2. 2 Anesthesia and Pain Therapy, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Bologna Policlinico Sant'Orsola-Malpighi, Bologna, Italy
  3. 3 Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care Therapy, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
  4. 4 Department of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Dr Daniela Ghisi, Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli, Bologna, Italy; ghisidan{at}


Background Although obese patients benefit from neuraxial anesthesia, technical difficulties often discourage its use. The current randomized trial compared Accuro, a hand-held, battery-operated ultrasound (US) device, and conventional palpation for spinal anesthesia in obese patients undergoing orthopedic surgery. We hypothesized that Accuro would decrease the number of needle redirections.

Methods We enrolled 130 men and women with a body mass index ≥30 kg/m2, scheduled for lower limb surgery under spinal block. Patients were randomized either to the Control group (group C: spinal block after palpation of cutaneous landmarks) or to the Accuro group (group A: preprocedural US scan with Accuro to identify the needle insertion point). The procedural time, the number of skin passes and of needle redirections, the occurrence of failure and adverse events were recorded.

Results Ninety-nine patients completed the study. Patients in group Accuro showed a median (IQR) number of redirections of 3 (0–9) and a median (IQR) number of needle passes through the skin of 1 (1-2) versus 6 (1-16) and 1 (1-3), respectively, in group Control (p=0.008, p=0.019). The performance time was 558±232 s in group Accuro versus 348±255 s in group Control (p<0.001). There were no intergroup differences in terms of failed blocks and adverse events.

Conclusions The use of Accuro reduced the number of needle redirections and passes through the skin when performing spinal anesthesia, but required a longer procedural time.

Trial registration number registry (NCT03075488).

  • neuraxial blocks: spinal/epidural injection
  • technology

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  • Contributors DG: planning, conduct, reporting, conception and design, acquisition of data, redaction of the manuscript. MT: conception and design, acquisition of data. SG: data analysis and interpretation of data. AL: conception and design, acquisition of data. LA: acquisition of data, redaction of the paper. LT: acquisition of data. AB: data analysis and interpretation of data. SB: planning, conduct, reporting, conception and design, final revision of the manuscript.

  • Funding Self-funded by Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli Bologna, Italy. The Accuro device was temporarily borrowed while the disposable materials (skin marker and sterile cover for the probe) were donated to the IRCCS Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli only for the period of the study by Praesidia Medical Devices (via dei Lapidari, 19 Bologna, Italy).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.