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What are the Different Types of Medical Syringes?

Medical syringes come in various forms, each designed for specific applications. From insulin syringes for diabetes management to tuberculin syringes for precise measurements, and luer-lock types for secure needle attachment, choosing the right one is crucial for effective treatment. Intrigued? Discover how each syringe type can impact patient care and why selection matters in our comprehensive guide. What type will suit your needs?
Rolando Braza
Rolando Braza

A medical syringe is a device used by medical professionals to inject or extract fluids from a patient through the vein, a cavity or beneath the skin. Syringes play an essential part in the prevention and treatment of diseases. It therefore is necessary to know and understand the different types of medical syringes to know which type of syringe should be used for a specific medical purpose. The different types of medical syringes include the needleless syringe or oral, insulin syringe, nasal syringe and safety syringe.

The needleless syringe or oral syringe is a type of syringe that has no needle. It is used to dispense liquid medicine to a toddler. Instead of having a hard time persuading the young child to drink the medicine from a measuring spoon, the medicine can be put in the barrel of a syringe and pushed out by its plunger after the tip or nozzle of the syringe is inside the mouth of the child.

A syringe.
A syringe.

The insulin syringe was designed for diabetics who are required to take insulin. Insulin syringes have shorter needles because insulin is injected only under the skin. Their needles also come in a finer gauge so that a diabetic who prefers to self-inject will feel less pain.

The nasal syringe is a needleless type of medical syringe that has a tube attached to a rubber bulb that is squeezed to suck out mucus and get rid of nasal congestion in the process. Saline solution, which is a blend of water and salt, can be squirted into the nasal area prior to sucking out the mucus. The solution must be loaded into the tube of the syringe by squeezing its bulb and releasing it to extract the solution from its container. Mucus will be softened by the saline solution for easier suction by the nasal syringe.

A small syringe.
A small syringe.

Safety syringes were manufactured with the safety of their users in mind. Some of the medical syringes of this type shield a person from being pricked accidentally by the needle. Safety is achieved through the introduction of retractable needles. The needle of the safety syringe automatically retracts into the syringe as soon as the barrel is emptied by the pushing of the plunger.

A person filling a syringe.
A person filling a syringe.

Medical syringes might not be available immediately in some areas. Some governments restrict the sale of syringes to keep them away from users of illegal drugs that can be injected into the veins. In these places, a prescription is needed to purchase medical syringes.

Most manufacturers produce medical syringes in disposable form in order to make them affordable to more people. Medical syringes also are made disposable to help prevent the spread of contagious diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis. Care, however, still is needed in disposing of these syringes to further ensure that contagious diseases will not find their way into communities.

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Discussion Comments


Syringes used to be made of glass, according to my mom, who worked as a lab tech in the 60s. It was a good day when plastic, disposable syringes came into being. Glass syringes had needles that were also reused and had to be sharpened periodically, and everything had to go into the autoclave to be sterilized after every use. Disposable syringes and needles, on the other hand, are guaranteed sterile out of the package. You couldn't always be sure with an autoclave. And needles are no longer re-used, either. My mom said the worst thing was either when a needle had a "burr" on it (because it hurt like the devil) or when a syringe broke. Either event was a serious one.

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    • A syringe.
      By: RTimages
      A syringe.
    • A small syringe.
      By: Jonathan Vasata
      A small syringe.
    • A person filling a syringe.
      By: Scott Van Blarcom
      A person filling a syringe.
    • A dental syringe.
      By: Kinagra
      A dental syringe.
    • A closeup of the connection between a syringe barrel and needle.
      By: Eisenhans
      A closeup of the connection between a syringe barrel and needle.