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What is a Metal Syringe?

By Pamela Pleasant
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A metal syringe is used to administer medication directly into the skin. It has a tube located on the upper part of the syringe that houses the medication. The medication is then pushed through a hollow-point needle and injected into the skin. Plastic syringes are now commonly used to injected medicines, but the first syringes created were made of metal and they are still used today for a variety of reasons. A metal syringe can sometimes be more sturdy and reliable than a plastic syringe.

The first syringes were created in 1853 by Alexander Wood and Charles Pravaz. Although they were made of metal, they had wood plungers that administered the medication. They were commonly used to inject patients with pain medications. The needles, as well as the syringes, had to be used repeatedly and so they also had to be sterilized. This dulled the needles, so the injections were extremely painful and an initial cut had to be made through the skin to administer the medicine.

During dental procedures, a metal syringe can be more reliable than a plastic type, especially when it involves an extraction. Molars that sit at the back of the gum line are typically larger and more difficult to remove. It is important to administer numbing drugs close to the nerves of these teeth and the injection must be precise for the medication to be effective. A metal syringe can penetrate these denser areas and deliver the medication without the chance of a needle break. This type of syringe can deliver medications accurately.

A type of metal syringe is often used by veterinarians. Some animals, such as cows or horses, have thick, dense skin that isn’t easy to penetrate. A metal syringe is strong enough to go through the toughest of skin and deliver medication. An animal can react violently if the pain from an injection continues for a period of time. This type of syringe has a plunging mechanism that works fast to deliver medication.

Impacted ear wax can be a problem and it can also cause hearing loss. A metal syringe is sometimes used to extract this ear wax. The plunging mechanism again works to deliver fluid. Warm water is placed in the upper chamber and injected into the ear to remove any debris. This type of syringe has a long, thin tubing on the end instead of a hollow metal needle.

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