Advancing the Science of Ultrasound Guided Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine

Virtual Spine Model

Welcome to the Virtual Spine website. This site is intended to be a resource for educators and students looking for tools to facilitate the teaching and learning of Spine Anatomy and Ultrasound Imaging of the Spine for regional anesthesia.

This project was initiated by Dr. Vincent Chan and Dr. Ahtsham Niazi and developed by Jodi Crossingham MScBMC (View Profile) and Gordon Tait PhD (View Profile) to create interactive online teaching modules.

Note: This module was originally developed with Adobe Flash, and Flash is no longer supported by web browsers. However, there is a new Flash emulator called Ruffle which is under development. Currently, the Virtual Spine Lumbar Anatomy Flash module works with Ruffle. Ruffle can be installed as an extension to the Chrome browser which will allow these modules to play. This extension can be downloaded from the Chrome Web Store (click here).

Lumbar Anatomy (click here)

The Lumbar Anatomy Teaching Module has been designed to aid students and educators to understand and teach lumbar spinal anatomy by providing them with interactive 3D visuals and complementary text.


  • Interactive rotatable 3D models of lumbar anatomy
  • Explores the lumbar anatomy of the vertebra, ligaments, joints, muscles, the spinal cord, and meninges.

Lumbar Spine Ultrasound

The Lumbar Spine Ultrasound module is designed to teach ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia for the lumbar spine. It includes an animation illustrating the flexion of the lumbar spine during patient positioning to open the intervertebral spaces, facilitating the insertion of needles into the spinal canal. The module also contains a section teaching the sonoanatomy of the lumbar spine and the paravertebral space. Finally, the Simulated Scout Scan section is developed to allow users to perform a simulated ultrasound imaging of the lumbar spine and needle insertion for spinal anesthesia.

  • Patient positioning (click here)
  • An animation of the spine in sitting and forward flexion (click here)
  • Lateral and dorsal views of the spine Sonoanatomy
  • Comparison of lumbar spine cross-sections from the sacrum to L1 with ultrasound in transverse (click here) and longitudinal paramedian scan (click here)
Educational grant was provided by Physicians' Services Incorporated Foundation.
Financial and equipment support was provided by Philips Ultrasound (Bothell, WA).

Philips RA / PM webpage

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