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Team Members:
  • Gabriel Fernandes
  • Amanda Li
  • Asef Islam
  • Diego Arevalo
  • Eshan Joshi
  • Chenyi “Lisa” Zhu
  • Matthew Zhao
  • Ernesto Lozano
  • Asad Latif, MD, MBBS, MPH
  • Adam Sapirstein, MD
  • Youseph Yazdi, PhD, MBA
  • Andrew Malinow, MD
  • Erik Witt, MD, PhD (Becton Dickinson)
  • Jude Cancellieri, MSE, MBA (Becton Dickinson)
  • Martin Jacobsen, MSc (Becton Dickinson)
  • Meghan Vellotti, MSE (Becton Dickinson)


The standard length of epidural needles, three-and-a-half inches, is suitable for patients with a normal body mass index (BMI). However, these standard needle lengths are not compatible with obese patients. Studies indicate that 50% of the American population is obese or extremely obese, with obesity rates still on the rise. During an epidural anesthesia procedure, obese patients require longer needles to penetrate deeper layers of subcutaneous tissue separating the targeted epidural space and the skin. Either prior to or mid-procedure, a physician may decide that the three-and-a-half inch needle is too short for the patient. Then, a longer needle must be retrieved, introducing another object to the sterile field, and imposing an inconvenient and time-consuming process on both the practitioner and patient. Unfortunately, most hospitals have a limited supply of longer needles, necessitating an additional healthcare practitioner who presses down on the patient’s back to decrease the distance to the epidural space during the procedure. Therefore, there is a need for a solution that minimizes procedure difficulty, decreases patient discomfort, and mitigates risk of infection. The goal of the project is to provide physicians with the ability to maintain optimal length needle to reach the epidural space, independent of patient BMI.

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