How Big Is an Epidural Needle?

How Big Is an Epidural Needle?

Getting your first epidural injection can be nerve-wracking. You want to make sure that everything goes as it should and there is no pain or discomfort from the needle itself.

If you’re worried about getting one, you’re wondering, “How big is an epidural needle?” Once you know this, you can lay your fears to rest.

We are here to help. We’ll answer your questions below about epidural needles. This way you can feel confident on your first visit.

Read on to learn more.

Determining the Size of an Epidural Needle

An epidural needle used for epidural pain management can vary, but it typically falls within a specific range. The size of the needle is an important consideration. Because it affects the procedure’s safety and effectiveness.

This needle is slightly curved and usually made of stainless steel. The curved shape helps ensure a smooth insertion. The needle is inserted through the back into the epidural area of the spine in order to administer local anesthetics or steroids.

Here are some general guidelines regarding the size of epidural needles:


It is typically much longer than regular syringes or needles for injections. Epidural needles range from 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 centimeters). The length allows the needle to reach the epidural space in the spine where the anesthesia is delivered.

Generally, the length and size of the needle are dependent on the patient’s body size and the amount of medication that the patient will receive. If the patient has a larger body type, a longer needle may be necessary to reach the target area safely.


The gauge of an epidural needle refers to its thickness or diameter. Epidural needles typically range in gauge size from 18G to 27G, with 18G being the thickest and 27G being the thinnest. The smaller the gauge number, the thicker the needle.

18G are relatively thick needles and are often used for epidural procedures during labor or for surgeries where a larger catheter may be required.

20G is a common size used for most epidural procedures and provides a balance between thickness and ease of insertion.

22G to 27G are thinner needles and may be used for specialized procedures or in patients with smaller anatomical structures. They are less commonly used for routine epidurals.

Tip Design

Epidural needles can have different tip designs, such as a Tuohy needle or a Whitacre needle. The choice of tip design may depend on the healthcare provider’s preference and the specific procedure being performed.

Tuohy needle is a common type of epidural needle with a beveled tip that is often used for the loss of resistance technique during placement.

Whitacre needles have a pencil-point tip, which is designed to reduce the risk of post-dural puncture headaches (PDPH) compared to beveled-tip needles. They are often used in obstetrics and for patients at a higher risk of PDPH.

Learning the Answers To: How Big Is an Epidural Needle?

How big is an epidural needle? Generally, they range from 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 centimeters). Although this can initially be intimidating, utilizing the proper technique can ensure that the procedure is done safely and the experience is as comfortable and stress-free as possible.

Speak with a healthcare provider to learn more about epidural needles and for the best advice.

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