Anatomic analysis of computed tomography images obtained during fluoroscopic computed tomography-guided percutaneous lumbar sympathectomy

J Anesth. 2008;22(4):373-7. doi: 10.1007/s00540-008-0663-x. Epub 2008 Nov 15.


Purpose: The fluoroscopic computed tomography (CT)-guidance technique increases the accuracy and safety of needle placement for percutaneous lumbar sympathectomy. The aim of the present study was to provide anatomic data from CT images and to discuss the safest route for needle insertion.

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed CT images that were obtained from 25 patients (14 men, 11 women; 37-89 years of age [mean, 68.4 years]) during fluoroscopic CT-guided percutaneous lumbar sympathectomy. The anatomy around the inserted needle was measured and the correlations between patient characteristics and the procedure-related distances were assessed.

Results: The distance from the midline (spinous process) to the entry point and the depth to the target site correlated with body size, especially height and weight. The maximal distance from midline to the insertion point in the range of safe needle insertion at L2 was less than 7.0 cm in approximately 20% of the patients.

Conclusion: The present study was performed to determine the anatomic details required to guide safe percutaneous lumbar sympathectomy based on CT images. The use of CT guidance is recommended for lumbar sympathectomy, especially at the L2 spinal level.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arterial Occlusive Diseases / surgery
  • Back / surgery*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Intraoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Kidney / injuries
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / surgery
  • Risk
  • Sympathectomy / methods*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed