Background: It would be imprecise to generalize the vertebral level determined by palpation to patients of all ages. The purpose of this study was to compare the vertebral level passed by Tuffier’s line in elderly women with that passed in adult women using ultrasound in the left lateral decubitus flexed position. Methods: We enrolled 50 female patients over the age of 65 (elderly group) and 50 female patients between ages 20 and 50 (control group) who had been scheduled to undergo spinal anesthesia. Using ultrasound, we marked the L2–5 lumbar spinous processes and intervertebral spaces. The most cephalad part was labeled 1 and the most caudal part was labeled 11. We then identified which line of these vertebral levels Tuffier’s line crossed. Results: The median value of the numbers signifying the vertebral level of Tuffier’s line was 3 (the L2–3 intervertebral space) in the elderly group, while it was 8 (the lower part of the L4 vertebra) in the control group. The vertebral level of Tuffier’s line had statistically significant correlations with age, body mass index, and weight in the elderly group (P < 0.001). Conclusions: The vertebral level of Tuffier’s line determined with ultrasound measurement in the left lateral decubitus flexed position was more cephalad in the elderly women than in those of the control group. Therefore, we should consider that the needle could be inserted at a higher level than expected, and use care in determining the level of needle insertion during spinal anesthesia in elderly women.
- Spinal anesthesia