Grant Application

Gerritt Lagemann, MD, of UPMC Presbyterian


Proposed Innovation

Each year, radiology residents at UPMC Presbyterian perform approximately 1,000 fluoroscopic-guided lumbar punctures and myelograms — delicate diagnostic imaging procedures requiring placement of a needle into the spinal column. Traditionally, residents have learned to do this through direct observation and then quickly moving on to “doing one.” This approach has a steep learning curve and may increase the risk of radiation exposure for patients and residents, as well as patient discomfort and trainee anxiety.

Through this project, first-year radiology residents will undergo direct, hands-on training in lumbar punctures using anatomic radiologic phantoms that simulate a patient’s spine.


Improvements in Action

Two anatomic radiologic phantoms will be purchased for use with incoming radiology residents over a six-month period beginning in July 2015. The residents will be divided into two groups: A control group and an experimental group. Both groups will receive the usual instruction through a lecture. But, the experimental group will also undergo four hours of individual, hand-on simulation training from an expert attending neuroradiologist using a lumbar anatomic phantom.


Results — In Progress

Outcomes of the training sessions will be measured over a six-month period beginning in January 2016. The simulated training sessions are expected to result in improved fluoroscopy times with reduced radiation exposure, more successful procedures without direct, hands-on intervention by the attending radiologist, and less resident anxiety throughout the radiology rotation.