Comparison of cutting and pencil-point spinal needle in spinal anesthesia regarding postdural puncture headache: A meta-analysis

Medicine (Baltimore). 2017 Apr;96(14):e6527. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000006527.


Background: Postdural puncture headache (PDPH), mainly resulting from the loss of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF), is a well-known iatrogenic complication of spinal anesthesia and diagnostic lumbar puncture. Spinal needles have been modified to minimize complications. Modifiable risk factors of PDPH mainly included needle size and needle shape. However, whether the incidence of PDPH is significantly different between cutting-point and pencil-point needles was controversial. Then we did a meta-analysis to assess the incidence of PDPH of cutting spinal needle and pencil-point spinal needle.

Methods: We included all randomly designed trials, assessing the clinical outcomes in patients given elective spinal anesthesia or diagnostic lumbar puncture with either cutting or pencil-point spinal needle as eligible studies. All selected studies and the risk of bias of them were assessed by 2 investigators. Clinical outcomes including success rates, frequency of PDPH, reported severe PDPH, and the use of epidural blood patch (EBP) were recorded as primary results. Results were evaluated using risk ratio (RR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) for dichotomous variables. Rev Man software (version 5.3) was used to analyze all appropriate data.

Results: Twenty-five randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were included in our study. The analysis result revealed that pencil-point spinal needle would result in lower rate of PDPH (RR 2.50; 95% CI [1.96, 3.19]; P < 0.00001) and severe PDPH (RR 3.27; 95% CI [2.15, 4.96]; P < 0.00001). Furthermore, EBP was less used in pencil-point spine needle group (RR 3.69; 95% CI [1.96, 6.95]; P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Current evidences suggest that pencil-point spinal needle was significantly superior compared with cutting spinal needle regarding the frequency of PDPH, PDPH severity, and the use of EBP. In view of this, we recommend the use of pencil-point spinal needle in spinal anesthesia and lumbar puncture.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia, Spinal / instrumentation*
  • Humans
  • Needles*
  • Post-Dural Puncture Headache / prevention & control*