Finding an ideal site for intraosseous infusion of the tibia: an anatomical study

Clin Anat. 2003 Jan;16(1):15-8. doi: 10.1002/ca.10071.


Intraosseous infusion is a technique used for the administration of fluids to a hemodynamically shocked child in whom attempts to access the vascular system have been unsuccessful. Although few complications are seen, injury to the epiphyseal growth plate during the performance of this technique remains a serious problem. This study investigates the relationship between the site of insertion of the intraosseous needle and the epiphyseal growth plate, and the ease of needle insertion into various locations of the tibia in newborn infants. Fourteen newborn infant cadavers (28 tibias in total) were dissected after placement of four needles: 1). through the tibial tuberosity (Site A); 2). 10 mm distal to the tibial tuberosity (Site B); 3). 20 mm distal to the tibial tuberosity (Site C) and; 4). 10 mm proximal to the tibial tuberosity (Site D). Distances from the distal end of the epiphyseal growth plate were measured. A high number of needle placements at Site A were inserted into the epiphyseal growth plate. Most placements at Site B were between 10 and 16 mm from the epiphyseal growth plate on the right side and between 10 and 15 mm on the left side, and all were inserted without difficulty. Although far from the epiphyseal growth plate, most placements at Site C were very difficult to insert because of the thick cortical bone. All placements at Site D entered the epiphysis or the epiphysis and joint space of the knee. An insertion site of at least 10 mm distal to the tibial tuberosity is therefore recommended to avoid epiphyseal growth plate injury and ensure ease of insertion.

MeSH terms

  • Cadaver
  • Fluid Therapy*
  • Growth Plate / anatomy & histology*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infusions, Intraosseous / adverse effects
  • Infusions, Intraosseous / methods*
  • Salter-Harris Fractures*
  • Shock / therapy
  • Tibia / anatomy & histology*