Improper Dry Needling leading to pneumothorax
During a hands-on workshop, a practitioner, who happened to be a medical doctor that was very experienced in deep dry needling (45 years), was demonstrating how to needle into a deep muscle called the illiocostalis. By using his hands, he intended to use his fingers to block the intercostal spaces (the space between the ribs) and direct his needle towards the rib below. Once hitting the rib, this would be his depth indicator.
Unfortunately, this practitioner chose a 50mm needle that was too long in length for the task at hand. As the needle was inserted, it deviated to the side and went around the rib and further penetrated the patient’s lung. The practitioner then, without knowing the damage he had caused, lifted the needle and redirected it, into the rib, which is where he intended it to go the first time.
If you pay close attention, you can see the excessive depth the needle travelled the first attempt in comparison to the second attempt. To read the full story, visit the link provided below.
Full text article in British Medical Journal: Pneumothorax complication of deep dry needling demonstration