Purpose of review: To review the literature and describe techniques to use ultrasound to guide performance of lumbar puncture (LP). Recent findings: Ultrasound evaluation of the lumbar spine has been shown in randomized trials to improve LP success rates while reducing the number of attempts and the number of traumatic taps. Summary: Ultrasound mapping of the lumbar spine reveals anatomical information that is not obtainable by physical examination, including depth of the ligamentum flavum, width of the interspinous spaces, and spinal bone abnormalities, including scoliosis. Using static ultrasound, the lumbar spine anatomy is visualized in transverse and longitudinal planes and the needle insertion site is marked. Using real-time ultrasound guidance, the needle tip is tracked in a paramedian plane as it traverses toward the ligamentum flavum. Future research should focus on efficient methods to train providers, cost-effectiveness of ultrasound-guided LP, and the role of new needle-tracking technologies to facilitate the procedure.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Academy of Neurology.