We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are the Most Common Intravenous Sites?

By Lori Smith
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
TheHealthBoard is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At TheHealthBoard, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Intravenous therapy is the method by which a catheter is inserted into a vein, with a needle, to deliver fluid directly into the bloodstream. The most common intravenous sites are located on the top of the hand, the lower forearm, or the upper, inner forearm near the fold of the elbow. On occasion, the large jugular vein in the neck, or some in the foot, may be considered. A vein in the scalp is most frequently used as an intravenous site for infants.

Veins in the upper forearm and hand are typically ideal intravenous sites. The easier it is for the medical professional to locate the site, the better the chance that the first needle stick will be successful. The cephalic vein is generally the most accessible. It is located along the side of the wrist nearest the thumb, and runs along a slight angle up the arm, toward the body.

Other common sites in the arm include the basilic vein and median cubital vein. Movement may be a little more difficult on the patient when these sites are used. They are located near the inside bend of the elbow, which can limit the patient's flexibility, and some people find it uncomfortable.

There are several reasons why a medical professional may choose not to use the hand or arm for intravenous therapy. An example of such instance might be when the patient has swelling or an injury, such as burns or fractures, in the upper extremities. Another reason could be that the sites may have been compromised by multiple needle sticks.

When intravenous therapy in the hand or arm is not appropriate, the external jugular vein can be used. It is much larger than other commonly used intravenous sites. Located on the side of the neck, it runs vertically from the top of the jaw line, close to the ear, toward the clavicle bone leading to the shoulder. When a patient has poor access sites in the arm, or when large amounts of fluid need to be injected, the jugular vein may be used.

While not ideal, there are some instances where it is necessary to use a vein in the foot. This is not done often, because it is often more painful for the patient. Blood does not flow as freely in this area and therefore the method can be less effective. There can also be an increased risk of infection, so medical professionals do not regularly elect placement in this region unless it is necessary.

Newborn infants sometimes require intravenous therapy. A vein in the baby's hand, arm, or foot can be used, although it is more difficult to insert and keep in place. Some babies may also dislodge it. For this reason, a vein in the scalp of a newborn can usually be used as an effective and safe intravenous site.

TheHealthBoard is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By roser — On Apr 28, 2011

Just before I got shoulder surgery last year I received an intravenous injection in my neck in order to basically temporarily paralyze that side of my body. I thought it would hurt but you can't see the needle go in and it all happens so quickly anyway that I barely even noticed it. It was worth it for the reduced pain anyway.

TheHealthBoard, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

TheHealthBoard, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.