5 Tips for Selecting the Right Syringe Needle

Posted by UKMEDI on 01 Nov, 2021

5 Tips for Selecting the Right Syringe Needle

5 Tips for Selecting the Right Syringe Needle

Are you having trouble trying to figure out which syringe needle is the one you need? Learn how to select the right syringe needles here.

With around 25% of adults being afraid of needles, it can make it difficult for a good portion of the population to get vaccinations, a blood test, or an IV drip put in. The average person in good health can expect to experience around 165 needle sticks during their lifetime.

For people living with a chronic illness or those in the medical field, the size and type of syringe needle that's used is important. It can be confusing to know what kind of needle and syringe you need.

In this guide, we'll go over five tips for choosing the right type of syringe needle as well as the different types of needles there are.

The Different Types of Syringes

Let's start by talking about the various types of syringes. They may all look the same at first glance, but they're not. Many of them are disposable and when you purchase a syringe, it'll come with or without an attached needle.

Luer Slip / Luer Lok

With a Luer Lok syringe, a needle is inserted into a syringe. It's then twisted to form a locked, tight connection. This ensures that needles can't accidentally get removed and there's no leakage.

A Luer Slip style of syringe only requires a push of a needle into a syringe. After that, it's ready to go.

ENFit Syringe

An ENFit syringe is designed to reduce the risk of feeding tube misconnections. This helps improve overall patient safety. They're also coloured purple so you can clearly differentiate between them and other types of syringes.

Oral Syringe

An oral syringe is used to dispense liquid suspensions or solutions. You can use one to administer nearly any medication available as a liquid. They're also great for gradually decreasing or increasing the medication dosage.

The Uses of Syringes

Syringes utilise a plunger to push out whatever liquid is in the barrel through a hollow needle. Syringes are used to treat a wide variety of conditions. Some of the ways they're used include:

  • Botox Syringes: Used to administer Botox or another form of the Botulinum toxin
  • Hypodermic Needles: Syringes that use this type of needle inject extra fluids or other substances
  • Insulin Syringe: Syringes that inject insulin

Whatever your need for syringes and needles, it's important to know their various uses and how they work together. There are various syringe sizes based on what you're injecting.

The Parts of a Syringe

Syringes have several different parts. The first part is the tip. This piece can come in a variety of shapes and types.

They include:

  • Luer Slip Tip: The tip is shorter in length and in the centre part of the syringe
  • Luer Lock Tip: The most commonly used type of tip, it's small and lets the needle securely and quickly attach to the syringe

The barrel is the next part of the syringe. You'll find volume markings on the barrel that'll help you measure the right amount of liquid you need. The size of the barrel can vary from very large to slender.

The flange is at the base of the barrel. It's the part of the syringe that gives the user something to hold.

The final piece of a syringe is the plunger. It pushes into the barrel, forcing the liquid out of the tip. Now that we're familiar with what a syringe is and how it works, let's talk about needles.

How to Select the Right Syringe Needle

Needles are very simple in design. They have a sharp point, a hollow centre, and finally, a hub, that affixes them to the syringe. The needle's shaft comes in different lengths that get measured in inches.

Gauge sizes measure the diameter or thickness of a needle. The tip of the needle is typically bevelled. This allows for easier puncturing.

Selecting the right needle is important. Let's talk about our top five tips on how to pick the right syringe needle.

1. Select the Right Gauge

Selecting the right gauge depends on skin thickness and the depth of the injections. The smaller the gauge number, the larger the width or diameter. In contrast, the higher the number, the thinner the width.

Needles that have a larger diameter also have thicker walls. As a result, they'll be more durable and stronger. They support the penetration of denser skin and more viscous liquids.

A smaller diameter needle (higher gauge) offers less pain for the person being injected. It's also a good option for medications with a low viscosity. Typically the most common gauges used are 26 and 27.

If you're looking for piercing needles, you'll likely need 20G or 18G.

2. Choose the Correct Length

When selecting the length of the needle, the length you go with depends on the individual's size. An adult will need a longer needle than a child. You'll also have to consider where you'll be inserting the needle.

Some medications can be absorbed directly under the skin. Others will have to be injected into a person's muscle.

Intramuscular injections get injected into the muscle. It's deeper than the subcutaneous layer of skin.

You'll need to use a longer and thicker needle for this type of injection. Explore needles that are an inch or slightly longer. 23 to 25 G is the gauge you're looking for.

Another thing to consider is how much body fat your needle will have to pass through. A thinner person could use a needle that's an inch long. Someone that's heavier might need a needle that's slightly longer.

Subcutaneous injections are injected into the fatty tissue located below the skin. They're shallow shots, so you need a short and small needle. Usually, a 27 to 30 G needle that's around 1/2" long will suffice.

3. Measure the Skinfold's Thickness

One thing you'll want to do is measure your skinfold. Choose an area on your thigh, arm, or abdomen. You'll typically want to go with the area you'll be most often injecting.

Squeeze the skinfold with your forefinger and thumb. Pull the skinfold away from the muscles but ensure you're not just pulling your skin.

Measure the tissue that's between your forefinger and thumb. An ordinary ruler will work for this.

If you're doing subcutaneous injections, the size of your needle should be 1/3" of the thickness of the tissue. For intramuscular injections, the needle should be 2/3" of the thickness of your tissue. Finding out this measurement will give you more information when selecting the length of your needle.

4. Evaluate the Needle Bevel

The slanted surface of the needle, the bevel creates the tip. It helps the medications or fluid get injected into the skin. Bevels are often described as being short, medium, or long.

The purpose of a well-designed bevel is to allow the needle to penetrate the skin far easier. The person administering the injection will also have to apply less force.

The bevel isn't vital to an injection's success but it is important. The bevel should always be facing toward the bone during an injection. This helps reduce trauma and decrease a person's discomfort.

5. Consider What the Needle Is Being Used For

As we talked about earlier, the type of needle you use depends a lot on what it's injecting. If you're using the needle to inject Botox, you'll want an incredibly thin needle.

The most common gauge used for Botox injections is 30. However, an even smaller needle that's 32 G has been used as a way to reduce the amount of pain caused by Botox injections. 32 G is two times as thin as a 30 G one.

If you have diabetes and have been experiencing pain from an insulin pen injector, you can eliminate that issue by changing your needle size. Thin and short needles can deliver insulin just as effectively as ones that are thicker and longer.

Medications, like insulin, are effective when they're injected into the fatty tissue just below the skin. Having a long needle isn't necessary. If you do inject insulin into your muscles, it'll be used up much more quickly and potentially cause bruising.

Typically, needles for insulin pens are 29 to 32 G and 4mm to 12mm in length. Since the skin is around 1.6mm thick, a 4mm needle is long enough to penetrate the skin.

Determining the viscosity of whatever medication or fluid you're injected as well will also play a part in effectively choosing the right gauge of the needle. There are many factors to consider. You want to choose the right one that causes as little pain and discomfort as possible.

Trust in UKMEDI for Your Needle and Syringe Needs

It can be confusing trying to figure out what type of syringe needle you need. Educating yourself on both syringes and needles will give you the information you need to make an informed decision. If you have any questions, our team of caring staff is available to help you make the right selection.

Explore our online shop and pursue our selection of syringe and needle kits.