Needle tip visualization during ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia (UGRA) is necessary for safety and efficacy. However, disruption of the image of the needle tip driven toward the target is a general problem, especially for beginners. The purpose of this study was to compare performance parameters between using the Sonoplex and Stimuplex D-Plus echogenic needles in a simulated ultrasound-guided interventional task by inexperienced anaesthesia residents. After a standardized training session, 28 anesthesiology residents performed simulated nerve blocks in a beef phantom with each needle. All ultrasound images were digitally stored for analysis. The absolute time the needle tip was in view, total procedure time, and angle of needle insertion were subsequently measured objectively by two single investigators. The procedures that used the Sonoplex echogenic needle had significantly better tip visibility and shorter total procedure time at insertion angles between 42° and 64° relative to the phantom surface. We have demonstrated that inexperienced users who used the Sonoplex echogenic needle were able to complete the procedure more quickly. Needles with improved visibility would be a very useful addition to UGRA for inexperienced users.
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