Ultrasound Guidance in Caudal Epidural Needle Placement

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Background:This study was conducted to investigate the feasibility of using ultrasound as an image tool to locate the sacral hiatus accurately for caudal epidural injections.Methods:Between August 2002 and July 2003, 70 patients (39 male and 31 female patients) with low back pain and sciatica were studied. Soft tissue ultrasonography was performed to locate the sacral hiatus. A 21-gauge caudal epidural needle was inserted and guided by ultrasound to the sacral hiatus and into the caudal epidural space. Proper needle placement was confirmed by fluoroscopy.Results:In all the recruited patients, the sacral hiatus was located accurately by ultrasound, and the caudal epidural needle was guided successfully to the sacral hiatus and into the caudal epidural space. There was 100% accuracy in caudal epidural needle placement into the caudal epidural space under ultrasound guidance as confirmed by contrast dye fluoroscopy.Conclusions:Ultrasound is radiation free, is easy to use, and can provide real-time images in guiding the caudal epidural needle into the caudal epidural space. Ultrasound may therefore be used as an adjuvant tool in caudal needle placement.

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