Hypodermic needle

A hypodermic needle is a hollow needle commonly used with a syringe to inject substances into the body. They may also be used to take liquid samples from the body, for example taking blood from a vein in venipuncture.

A hypodermic needle is used for rapid delivery of a drug, or when the injected substance cannot be ingested, either because it would not be absorbed (as with insulin), or because it would harm the liver (as with testosterone). There are many possible routes for an injection.


Hypodermic needles are normally made from a stainless-steel tube drawn through progressively smaller dies to make the needle. The end is bevelled to create a sharp pointed tip. This lets the needle easily penetrate the skin. When a hypodermic needle is inserted, the bevel should be facing upwards.

Needle gauge

The diameter of the needle is indicated by the needle gauge. Various needle lengths are available for any given gauge. There are a number of systems for gauging needles, including the Stubs Needle Gauge, and the French Catheter Scale. Needles in common medical use range from 7 gauge (the largest) to 33 (the smallest) on the Stubs scale. Twenty-one-gauge needles are most commonly used for drawing blood for testing purposes, and sixteen- or seventeen-gauge needles are most commonly used for blood donation, as they are large enough to allow red blood cells to pass through the needle without rupturing (this also allows more blood to be collected in a shorter amount of time). Larger-gauge needles will rupture the red blood cells, and if this occurs, the blood is useless for the patient that is receiving it. Although reusable needles remain useful for some scientific applications, disposable needles are far more common in medicine. Disposable needles are embedded in a plastic or aluminium hub that attaches to the syringe barrel by means of a press-fit or twist-on fitting.

Non-specialist use

Hypodermic needles are usually used by medical professionals — physicians, nurses, paramedics — but they are sometimes used by patients themselves. This is most common with type one diabetics, who may require several insulin injections a day. It also occurs with patients who have asthma or other severe allergies. Such patients may need to take desensitization injections; or they may need to carry injectable medicines to use for first aid in case of a severe allergic reaction. Such patients often carry a syringe loaded with epinephrine (e.g. EpiPen); some also carry syringes loaded with Benadryl and Decadron. The rapid injection of these drugs may stop a severe allergic reaction, prevent anaphylactic shock, and make an emergency room trip unnecessary, although it may be disconcerting to spectators. Hypodermic needles are also used illicitly in recreational intravenous drug use, and to limit the spreading of blood born diseases like Hepatitis and AIDS through sharing of injection equipment, many countries now have Needle exchanges in most of their larger cities. Though the dispencing of hypodermic syringes used to be limited to those with a prescription in most countries, nowadays the large majority of countries allow the dispencing of hypodermic syringes without a prescription, and are often even government subsidised through Needle exhange programs.

Industrial use

Disposable plastic syringes equipped with unbeveled blunt-tip needles are often used in industry to apply precise amounts of lubricants, adhesives, and various other liquids and pastes.


It is estimated that about 10% of the adult population may have a phobia of needles (trypanophobia), and it is much more common in children.Fact|date=June 2008 There is some basis for this phobia, because not all medical personnel have the necessary skill with hypodermic needles. This is particularly with intravenous uses, where incorrect insertion may easily damage the vein. It is not unusual for a nurse or doctor to take several tries to start an IV; a dozen tries is not unknown.

See also

* cannula
* catheter
* intravenous therapy
* needle biopsy
* needle gauge comparison chart
* needle remover
* Tuohy needle


* [http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/msyringe.html How do they get the hole through a hypodermic needle?] at The Straight Dope.

External links

* [http://www.needlephobia.info The Needle Phobia Information Site]
* [http://www.dentalfearcentral.org/needle_phobia.html Needle Phobia and Dental Injections]
* [http://www.needles.cn Drilled & Rolled End Surgical Suture Needles]
* [http://www.victor-g.com Victor - G. India, Information site on Hypodermic Needles]
* [http://www.hypodermicproductions.com Hypodermic Productions: Because mediocrity is not excellence!]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • hypodermic needle — n 1) NEEDLE (2) 2) a hypodermic syringe complete with needle * * * a short, slender, hollow needle used in injecting drugs beneath the skin …   Medical dictionary

  • Hypodermic needle — Hyp o*der mic need le, n. 1. A small slender hollow metallic tube, sharp pointed at one end and fitted at the other end with an adapter of larger internal diameter, designed for introduction of liquids directly into the bloodstream or other parts …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hypodermic needle — noun a hollow needle • Hypernyms: ↑needle • Part Holonyms: ↑hypodermic syringe, ↑hypodermic, ↑hypo …   Useful english dictionary

  • hypodermic needle — noun Date: circa 1909 1. needle 1c(1) 2. a hypodermic syringe complete with needle …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • hypodermic needle — noun a) A hollow needle with a sharp point intended to puncture the skin to draw a fluid from under the skin or inject a fluid under the skin, used as part of a hypodermic syringe. b) A syringe …   Wiktionary

  • hypodermic needle — /haɪpəˌdɜmɪk ˈnidl/ (say huypuh.dermik needl) noun the hollow needle of a hypodermic syringe. See sharp (def. 32) …   Australian English dictionary

  • hypodermic needle — a hollow needle used to inject solutions subcutaneously. [1905 10] * * * …   Universalium

  • hypodermic needle —   Kui hou lā au …   English-Hawaiian dictionary

  • Hypodermic needle model — The hypodermic needle model is a model of communications also referred to as the magic bullet perspective, or the transmission belt model. Essentially, this model holds that an intended message is directly received and wholly accepted by the… …   Wikipedia

  • Hypodermic-Needle-Modell — Das Hypodermic Needle Modell (auch: Transmission Belt Modell) ist ein Kommunikationsmodell aus der Frühzeit der Medienwirkungsforschung vor dem zweiten Weltkrieg. Es stellt Medienwirkung so dar, dass Stimuli über die Massenmedien jedes Mitglied… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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