Real-Time Ultrasound-Assisted Thoracic Epidural Placement: A Feasibility Study of a Novel Technique


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Abstract

The placement of thoracic epidural catheters is complicated by the layering of the vertebral lamina. Therefore, traditional blind palpation techniques require insertion of an epidural needle with likely contact of lamina with redirections into the epidural space. We discuss a safe and consistent technique using true real-time ultrasound visualization of the needle with a paramedian sagittal oblique view to improve the consistency of placing an epidural in the thoracic spine for postoperative analgesia. Successful epidural placement was achieved in every patient. All catheters were found to be effective for use in the postoperative phase.

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