Needle caliber and design are associated with the risk of post-dural puncture headache after diagnostic lumbar puncture




Headache, CSF leak, Lumbar puncture, Post-dural puncture headache, Intracranial hypotension



Post-dural puncture headache (PDPH) is defined as an orthostatic headache that develops within the first few days after performing a spinal tap and it is related to extravasation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) into the epidural space, resulting in CSF hypovolemia and hypotension. The risk factors for PDPH are not yet fully understood.


To evaluate the risk of spontaneously reported PDPH according to the size and type of spinal tap needle.


A total of 4589 patients undergoing outpatient lumbar puncture (LP) were included. All CSF collections were performed at Senne Liquor Diagnostico, a laboratory specialized in CSF collection and analysis. Patients were instructed to report by telephone if they had orthostatic headache during the first 7 days after LP to the medical team of the laboratory. Patients with previous headache were instructed to report any change in the headache pattern during the same period. Needle gauge was classified into two groups: 1) 25G or less and 2) greater than 25G. Two types of needles were used and compared: 1) Pencil point and 2) Quincke. Comparisons of the percentages of spontaneous reports of PDPH were made using the chi-square test.


141 patients (3.07%) reported PDPH to the laboratory's medical team. Needles of 25G gauge or less were used in 31.8% of cases. The percentage of patients reporting PHD in the group of 25G or less needles was 1.9% versus 3.6% in the group of larger than 25G needles (P=0.003). Pencil point needles were used in 10.6% of cases. The percentage of PHD among pencil point group was 1.4% versus 3.2% in Quincke group (P=0.026).


25G or finer gauge needles as well as pencil point type needles significantly reduced the risk of spontaneously reported PHD.


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How to Cite

Domingues R, Giafferi C, Vega M, Salomão D, Senne C. Needle caliber and design are associated with the risk of post-dural puncture headache after diagnostic lumbar puncture. Headache Med [Internet]. 2023 Mar. 14 [cited 2023 Dec. 5];14(1):32-5. Available from:




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