Spring-eye needles were commonly used in neurosurgery as a method of closure of craniotomy incisions because of the perceived, but not proven, advantages of easy handling, fast wound closure and reduced infection rate. However, these needles produce more tissue trauma and are more fragile. We surveyed 33 neurosurgical operating theatres in the UK to find out if spring eyed needles are still in use and, if they are not why not. We had a 91% response. The survey involved 117 British neurosurgeons, of whom spring-eye needles were used by 38 (13%). Both round body and cutting needles were used, but the cutting needles have a higher breakage rate. The use of 'eyed' needles is rare in other surgical specialties but they are still in use in neurosurgical theatres; however, their use has declined because of changes in surgical practice, the increased breakage rate of these needles, and reduction of their availability.