Not many like the idea of an injection, but most people with diabetes need to do it every day. While the fear of injections may diminish over a period of time, there are some factors which can make the process more comfortable and less painful, while making insulin therapy effective. The length of the needle is one such factor.
Proper depth for the injection
It is important to remember that the injection must be delivered subcutaneously i.e. in the fat tissue. The needle should be long enough to penetrate the skin and inject into the fat tissue, but not so long that it enters the muscle tissue. Insulin injected into muscle tissue is absorbed faster, leading to the risk of low blood sugar or hypoglycemia.
Easy injection technique
BD’s smallest and thinnest needle is the 4mm, 32-gauge needle. This is the recommended pen needle length for insulin injections at home for both adults and children using insulin pens.* There is little risk of injecting into muscle tissue with such a needle as compared to longer needles. The injection can be delivered “straight” without a skin fold, with the pen held at a 90 degree angle to the skin.
*Children between 2 to 6 years and lean patients require to take a skin fold even with 4mm.
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1.Frid AH, Kreugel G, Grassi G, et al. New insulin delivery recommendations. Mayo Clin Proc. 2016;91(9):1231-1255.
2.Gibney MA, Arce CH, Byron KJ, Hirsch LJ. Skin and subcutaneous adipose layer thickness in adults with diabetes at sites used for insulin injections: implications for needle length recommendations. Curr Med Res Opin. 2010;26(6):1519-1530.
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