Spinal headaches after myelograms: Comparison of needle types

Jordan M. Prager*, Sudipta Roychowdhury, Michael T. Gorey, Gina M. Lowe, Cheryl W. Diamond, Ann Ragin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. We compared traditional bevel-tip end-hole spinal needles and pencil-point-tip side-hole needles for the incidence, severity, and duration of spinal headaches in subjects who had myelograms. Age, sex, and myelographic findings were examined. SUBJECTS AND METHODS. We studied 138 subjects referred for myelograms. For 108 procedures, we randomly used 22- gauge Quinke bevel-tip end-hole needles or 22-gauge Sprotte pencil-point-tip needles. The 30 additional subjects were examined with Gertie Marx pencil- point-tip needles. All myelograms were performed by one of two neuroradiologists using recommended doses of iohexol. The myelograms were examined by an independent neuroradiologist for quality of image and presence of extraarachnoid contrast material. Five to 14 days after myelography, subjects were telephoned by an independent observer and asked about the presence, severity, duration, and positional quality of headache. Spinal headache is defined by positional quality and increases in severity when the subject moves from horizontal to sitting or standing. RESULTS. We round that four (8%) of 52 subjects who had myelograms with Sprotte needles had spinal headaches. Likewise, 14 (25%) of 56 subjects who had myelograms with Quinke needles had spinal headaches. We calculated a statistically significant difference in the incidence of spinal headaches using chi-square analysis (p = .02). The average grade and duration of the spinal headaches did not differ significantly, although they were less marked in the Sprotte group. Spinal headaches occurred more frequently in young and middle-aged subjects than in older subjects. We found one definite extraarachnoid injection in each group. For the Gertie Marx needles, two (7%) of 30 subjects had spinal headaches. The average grade of postmyelogram headache was 2.5, and the mean duration was 1 day. There were no mixed injections. CONCLUSION. We found a significant reduction in spinal headaches after myelograms when we used the pencil- point-tip side-hole needle. These results support the routine use of these needles for myelography in young and middle-aged patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1289-1292
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'Spinal headaches after myelograms: Comparison of needle types'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this