Syringe needles come in various sizes meant to perform a variety of functions. Which type of syringes are used during a procedure usually depends upon the medication that is being administered. At times, the size of the patient will decide what type of needle is used.
Needle diameters are determined by gauge size. As the diameter of the needle gets smaller, the gauge number gets bigger. For instance, a 24-gauge needle would be much thinner than a 14-gauge needle. When an injection is given, it is usually administered with the thinnest needle possible to avoid discomfort.
The length of syringe needles is important when giving injections. The type of injection needed will determine the gauge and length of the needle that is used. There are two main types of injections. One is the intramuscular injection and the other is the subcutaneous injection.
An intramuscular injection is given deep into a muscle. Vaccines are commonly intramuscular injections. These types of injections will usually require longer and slightly thicker needles. Common sizes for an intramuscular injection would be a 20- or 22-gauge needle that is one inch (2.54cm) to one-and-a-half inches (3.81cm) long.
Subcutaneous injections require injecting medication into the first layer of fat that lies just beneath the skin. Insulin shots are one example of injections that are given subcutaneously with a special insulin syringe. Needles used for subcutaneous injections are thinner and shorter. Common sizes for a subcutaneous injection are 25- or 30-gauge needle that is a half-inch (1.3 cm) to five-eighths inches (1.6 cm) long.
There are other types of syringe needles that are used to give medications. If an individual requires intravenous medications, he will probably have an intravenous needle inserted into a vein and then the needle will be attached to an intravenous line that leads to a bag of fluids. Medications can be pushed through small rubber ports that protrude from the intravenous line.
In most health care settings, safety measures are put into place to reduce the risk of needle sticks. A needleless syringe is usually used to administered medications through an intravenous port. This type of syringe has a tip that screws onto the rubber port, causing it to open so the medication can be injected.
Safety syringes are commonly used syringe needles in almost all health care settings these days. These types of syringes have a safety mechanism that covers the needle once the injection is given. These safety syringes decrease the risk of the health care worker or the patient getting stuck with an infected needle.