How to Choose an Intramuscular Injection Site

how to choose an IM injection site
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Question: How Do I Choose an Intramuscular Injection Site?

Answer

If you're trying to conceive with assisted fertility treatments, chances are you will have to inject yourself with medicine, typically hormones. While the thought of giving yourself a shot may seem terrifying (and painful), it really isn't that awful at all.

Here's what to know about choosing an intramuscular injection site when you are undergoing fertility treatments.

 

​An intramuscular injection is given into the muscle below that fatty layer and can be a little trickier than other injection types. This is how many fertility treatments are administered.

Four sites can be used to give an intramuscular injection. Choosing the proper site is necessary for proper absorption of the medicine and avoidance of injury. Use a site on your body that has a large, easily markable muscle and has little fatty tissue covering it like the buttocks, thigh, hip or upper arm.

Make sure to palpate the muscle before doing the injection to make sure that the muscle can support the medication to be delivred. As always, if your healthcare provider recommends a particular muscle or site, use that site.

Deltoid Muscle

The deltoid muscle is located in the upper arm, just below the shoulder. To mark this site, place the palm of your hand on the shoulder and spread your thumb from the other 4 fingers in an upside down V shape.

Make sure that the middle of the arm is centered in your V. You will want to give the injection into the middle of the V.

Vastus Lateralis Muscle

This muscle is located in the thigh. To properly mark this muscle, divide the front of the thigh into thirds from the top to the bottom of the thigh. The needle should go into the middle third.

Ventrogluteal Muscle

This muscle is located in the hip. To mark this site, have the person lie on their back. You should stand facing their hips. Place the heel of your hand so that your wrist is lined up with the thigh, the thumb is pointed toward the groin and the fingers are pointed toward the head. You should feel the border of a bony area along the ring finger and pinkie. Spread your pointer finger and middle finger into a V and give the injection between those fingers.

Dorsogluteal Muscle

This is the large muscle in the backside. Divide one buttock into quadrants, halfway down the middle and halfway across. You will always want to give the injection in the outer, upper quadrant, almost toward the hip.

In addition to choosing the proper IM site, ice can be used to reduce pain. Using a larger needle, both in size and thickness, are needed to penetrate the deeper muscles. Try to keep the muscle as relaxed as possible by first getting into a comfortable position and relaxing your muscles.

 

Make sure to keep an eye out for any side effects which can indicate a possible infection or other complications. Signs to look for include redness, swelling, heat or drainage at the injection site. Report anything you are concerned about to your doctor or nurse.

Updated by About.com PCOS Expert Angela Grassi, MS, RDN

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