What Are the Different Types of Medical Needles That Exist Today?

Did you know that 37.3 million Americans have diabetes? That’s around one in ten people. And one in five people who have this disease don’t even yet know it.

When looking at medical needles, diabetes isn’t the only health complication that requires medical syringes. But what other needles are there? And what are they used for?

If this topic interests you, join us as we chat about the medical syringes available in the healthcare industry.

Anatomy of a Medical Needle

Everyone that’s seen a medical needle can tell you it doesn’t look like there’s much to them. However, if this is what you think, you’d be incorrect, I’m afraid. 

It’s true; needles have a simplistic design and are relatively straightforward. They consist of the following:

  • Hub: This attaches the medical needles to the syringes
  • Shaft: This is the length of the needle, typically stainless steel with a hollow center
  • Bevel: This refers to the angled tip which aids in easier puncturing
  • Lumen: This refers to the opening at the end of the shaft
  • Cap: This goes over the medical needle to protect handlers from being jabbed accidently

When looking at what needle to use, the best medical supply will have a range of the best medical equipment for you to choose from. This means there will be different needles for different purposes.

Needle Gauge

When you are considering what gauge medical needle you need, you need to consider the skin thickness of the recipient as well as the depth of the injection.

Needle gauges are ranked by number. The higher the number, the smaller the needle width. Conversely, the lower the number, the wider the gauge. Thinner gauge medical needles are more fragile than their larger counterparts.

Finer gauge needles are better for low viscosity fluids and are often less painful to receive than thicker medical needles.

The most popular needle gauges are 26- and 27-gauge, which can be used across all three types of injections: intradermal, subcutaneous, and intramuscular.

Needle Length

Medical needles range from 3/8 inch to 3-1/2 inch. The deeper the injection needs to go, the longer the needle should be selected as a good rule of thumb. Typically:

  • Intramuscular: 7/8 to 1-1/2 inch, or 26 to 30 guage
  • Subcutaneous: 1/2 to 5/8 inch, or 19 to 27 gauge
  • Intradermal: 3/8 to 3/4 inch, or 26 to 28 gauge

For examples of different gauge needles, have a look here.

Types of Needles

When selecting your medical syringes, it’s also imperative to choose your needles based on how they will be used. For example, you don’t want to purchase a subcutaneous needle when you only need an intradermal one.

  • Intradermal Injections: Enter at a 10° to 15° angle; can enter epidermis and dermis layers
  • Subcutaneous Injections: Enter at a 45° to 90° angle; can penetrate the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous tissue
  • Intramuscular Injections: Enter at a 90° angle; can penetrate all layers, including the muscle layer

Know Your Medical Needles

Even if you don’t currently require medical needles, one day, you may need to administer medication like insulin, and it’s good to know which needle you’ll need for this (28G to 30G are all suitable, by the way). It’s pretty straightforward and not a lot of information to remember, but it could make your life much easier.

We have many more just like it in our Health and Education categories if you’ve enjoyed this article.

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