Purpose: To compare the postdural puncture headache (PDPH) rates after myelography with use of 22-gauge Whitacre (blunt tip) versus standard 22-gauge Quincke (bevel-tip) spinal needles.
Materials and methods: At myelography, 340 patients were randomly assigned to one of two groups in which either the Whitacre (167 patients) or the Quincke (173 patients) needle was used. Follow-up was at 48 hours and at 4 days after the procedure. Crude and adjusted Whitacre/PDPH odds ratios and risk ratios were calculated.
Results: The crude Whitacre needle PDPH risk was 9.6%, and the crude Quincke needle PDPH risk was 15.6%. The absolute risk difference was 6.0% with a 95% confidence interval of -0.98% and 13.04%. The adjusted Whitacre/PDPH odds ratio was 0.492 with a 95% confidence interval of 0.241 and 1.003. The Whitacre needle group had a statistically significantly lower PDPH severity grade (P = .0151), similar PDPH duration, and more technical difficulty with the needle.
Conclusion: The Whitacre needle is associated with an equal or lower PDPH risk; the lack of statistical significance is most likely related to sample size. Further study is necessary to determine whether the decreased PDPH rate justifies the added difficulty associated with use of the Whitacre needle.