Abdominal circumference but not the degree of lumbar flexion
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Abstract
Background
Lumbar puncture for spinal or epidural anesthesia is commonly performed by palpating bony landmarks, but identification of the desired intervertebral level is often inaccurate. It is unclear whether such inaccuracy is related to patient factors, such as body mass index and degree of lumbar flexion. We hypothesized that overweight patients and patients with less of an ability to hyperflex their lumbar spines are prone to inaccurate lumbar spinous intervertebral level identification.

Methods
52 adult volunteers were included in this study. 7 anesthesiologists with different years of experience identified and marked subjects’ levels of the iliac crests, then marked the presumed interspaces. Lumbar X-ray was then performed with metal markers, and actual radiographic findings were identified and compared to the initial markings.

Conclusions
Patients’ abdominal circumference, body mass index, and age are factors that may impact the accuracy of lumbar level identification. Tuffier’s line, as identified by palpation, does not seem to be a reliable landmark for proper lumbar interspace identification in all cases.......

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4323173/
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