What is a subcutaneous injection and how to apply it?

Subcutaneous injection is most often used in medicine. The reason is that can be administered by the patient himself and is used for common medications, such as insulin for diabetics.

Subcutaneous injection is one that is injected into the subcutaneous fatty tissue. That is, in the layer of fat that sits between the skin and the muscle. This tissue contains few blood vessels, making it suitable for small volumes of drugs.

Moreover, it is recommended that they be drugs with slow and continuous absorption. Although it is easy to use, it is important to take into account some aspects of this form of administration.

What is Subcutaneous Injection?

Subcutaneous injection is often confused with intradermal injection.. The latter is performed with a needle that only penetrates the dermis (the middle layer of the skin).

Like the subcutaneous, it is used for products with slow and local absorption. The difference between the two is the depth and angle at which it is performed. In the intradermal, the needle is pricked at an angle of about 10 degrees, almost parallel to the skin.

Subcutaneous injection, on the other hand, it is where the needle penetrates the subcutaneous tissue. This tissue is found between the skin and the muscle layer. It also receives the name of the adipose tissue.

It is used to administer medicines in small volumes. In fact, these are usually quantities of less than 1 millilitre, although they can reach 2 millilitres. Being a poorly vascularized tissue, the drug that is administered is absorbed gradually.

This is one of the main differences with intravenous injection, which has a faster effect. Moreover, subcutaneous is easier to perform and less expensive. One of its main uses is drugs that cannot be prescribed orally.

subcutaneous insulin.
The subcutaneous injection of insulin is the paradigm of these applications. Each patient learns to place it in their own home.

Recommendations before making a subcutaneous injection

Before applying a subcutaneous injection, some aspects should be taken into account. As explained by A article published in Nursing, irritating drugs should not be injected. They can cause the appearance of abscesses or even tissue necrosis.

Unlike other injections, do not aspirate after inserting the needle. It is a gesture that is usually performed intravenously to check if the needle is positioned correctly. However, it could lead to a bruise.

It is also not recommended to massage the area where the drug was injected. This can lead to its absorption faster, which is not the desired effect.

The ideal is to vary the injection site in case they are needed continuously. For example, as happens with insulin in diabetics. This prevents scar formation.

The zones must be separated from each other by one or more centimeters. In the case of insulin, it is recommended to make circles in the abdomen for the puncture site variation.

Subcutaneous injection materials

Different materials are required to perform a subcutaneous injection. The first thing is the syringe. It consists of three parts: needle, cylinder and plunger. The needle is the part that needs to penetrate the skin, while the barrel is where the medicine is stored. The plunger is used to push the medicine in and out of the syringe.

Syringes can have different capacities. They all have markings that help you know how many milliliters to give or how many international units.

To perform a subcutaneous injection a new needle must be used each time. They must be the correct size. Ideally, use disposable gloves when handling the needle or syringe, as this reduces the risk of infection.

To place all materials It is advisable to have sterilized paper at home to use as a surface. Also, rubbing alcohol or alcohol wipes also work.

How far should the needle go in?

The subcutaneous injection should be performed at a certain depth and at an appropriate angle. They can be applied at 90 degrees (perpendicular) or at 45 degrees. The first corner is used when you can take a more or less large pinch of the skin. The 45 degree angle is reserved for areas or people who have little fatty tissue.

According to one publication of Murcia Health, it is not always necessary to clean the skin before the injection. It should only be done in cases where the skin is visibly dirty.

It is also important to prepare the syringe before the process. It is held with the more dexterous hand, between the thumb and forefinger. With the other hand, you need to take the part of the skin where the injection will be made.

As explained by A Article Kaiser Permanente, the needle must be inserted forcefully. When it is fully inside, the plunger of the syringe must be depressed for the drug to enter. After The needle is withdrawn at the same angle it was inserted.

Once this is done, the skin fold is released. The injection site may bleed slightly. In this case it is sufficient to exert a slight pressure with cotton or gauze.

Subcutaneous injection of anesthesia.
Some procedures that require local anesthesia use injections under the skin to apply the anesthetic.

Where can a subcutaneous injection be applied?

Subcutaneous injections can be applied to different areas of the body. One of the most used areas is the abdomen. The needle should be inserted 2 inches from the belly button, avoiding getting too close. You should also not put pressure on your hipbone or ribs.

Another area that can be used for subcutaneous injection is the leg. Specifically, the outer thigh area, between the knee and the hip.

The lower back, just above the buttocks, It’s another area that gets used. In this case, the injection should be given below the waist and in an imaginary line slightly above the buttocks. Finally, it can also be specified in the arm.

Learn to place it to reduce the risks

Subcutaneous injection is a type of injection that is given into the fatty tissue located between the skin and the muscle. Used to administer small volumes of medication. In addition, they must be drugs that require slow and gradual absorption.

One of its main uses is the administration of insulin. To do it correctly, it is recommended to change the injection site and prepare the materials correctly. Likewise, it is essential to follow the best conditions of sterility and asepsis.

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