J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 75:893-897 doi:10.1136/jnnp.2003.017624
  • Paper

Dura-arachnoid lesions produced by 22 gauge Quincke spinal needles during a lumbar puncture

  1. M A Reina1,2,
  2. A López1,2,
  3. V Badorrey2,
  4. J A De Andrés3,
  5. S Martín4
  1. 1Department of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care, Hospital de Móstoles, Madrid, Spain
  2. 2Department of Anaesthesiology, Hospital Madrid Montepríncipe, Madrid, Spain
  3. 3Department of Anaesthesiology, Critical Care and Pain Therapy, Hospital General Universitario, Valencia, Spain
  4. 4Department of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care, Hospital Ramón y Cajal, Madrid, Spain
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr M A Reina
 Valmojado 95 1°B, 28047 Madrid, Spain;
  • Received 27 April 2003
  • Accepted 14 October 2003
  • Revised 22 September 2003


Aims: The dural and arachnoid hole caused by lumbar puncture needles is a determining factor in triggering headaches. The aim of this study is to assess the dimensions and morphological features of the dura mater and arachnoids when they are punctured by a 22 gauge Quincke needle having its bevel either in the parallel or in the transverse position.

Methods: Fifty punctures were made with 22 gauge Quincke needles in the dural sac of four fresh cadavers using an “in vitro” model especially designed for this purpose. The punctures were performed by needles with bevels parallel or perpendicular to the spinal axis and studied under scanning electron microscopy.

Results: Thirty five of the 50 punctures done by Quincke needles (19 in the external surface and 16 in the internal) were used for evaluation. When the needle was inserted with its bevel parallel to the axis of the dural sac (17 of 35), the size of the dura-arachnoid lesion was 0.032 mm2 in the epidural surface and 0.037 mm2 in the subarachnoid surface of the dural sac. When the needle’s bevel was perpendicular to the axis (18 of 35) the measurement of the lesion size was 0.042 mm2 for the external surface and 0.033 mm2 for the internal. There were no statistical significant differences between these results.

Conclusions: It is believed that the reported lower frequency of postdural puncture headache when the needle is inserted parallel to the cord axis should be explained by some other factors besides the size of the dura-arachnoid injury.


  • Funding: this study was supported by the Investigation Funds, Ministry of Health of Spain, Project 98/0628.

  • Competing interests: none declared.

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