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What Are the Best Insulin Injection Sites?

A vial of insulin.
Injection sites should be rotated by diabetics who need more than one injection a day.
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  • Written By: A.E. Freeman
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 21 September 2014
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One of the best insulin injection sites is the abdomen, as it usually has a layer of fat and absorbs the insulin into the body well. Some people may have very thin abdominal areas, though. Other parts of the body, such as the thighs, backs of the upper arms, and buttocks, are also good sites. People who need to receive more than one shot of insulin a day may find that injecting into several different sites throughout the day works best.

The best insulin injection sites have a layer of fatty tissue just below the surface of the skin. Insulin is absorbed into the body best through fat. The best injection sites also do not have many nerve endings, so receiving a shot in those areas is not as painful as receiving a shot elsewhere on the body.

On most people, the best insulin injection sites do not have any scar tissue, such as from a surgery or other injury. Insulin will also not be absorbed into the body if injected into a mole or near or into the belly button. At the best insulin injection sites, the patient should be able to pinch at least an inch of fat to ensure proper absorption.

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Many people find the stomach area the easiest site to injection into, especially if they are self-administering insulin. The outer thigh, near the hip, is also an easy spot to self-administer an injection. Injecting into the buttocks or the backs of the arms can prove the most tricky, and many people will need some assistance to inject themselves.

People who need to inject insulin more than once a day should rotate the location of the injections. Injecting insulin into the same location multiple times a day or many times throughout the week can lead to skin damage, such as loss of fat below the skin or irritation. In some cases, injecting into the same site multiple times can lead to lipohypertrophy, or the formation of extra fatty deposits just below the surface of the skin. The fatty deposits are usually painful and can prevent the insulin from being absorbed into the body.

To avoid lipohypertrophy or skin problems, a person should always move the injection. For example, a morning injection can be in the abdomen and the evening one in the thighs. The next day, the injections in the abdomen and thigh should be at least an inch away from the injections from the day before.

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Lostnfound
Post 2

I've never been on insulin, thank goodness, but I have taken Byetta, Victoza and Bydureon -- all of which are injected.

The Byetta and Victoza weren't bad to inject. The pens took the short needles and it was a simple matter to just zap the needle in, do the shot and go on.

The Bydureon was bad. The needles were so much longer, and no matter what I did, I always got these huge bumps under my skin where the medication went in. Hated that stuff. It was only once a week, thank goodness. But I couldn't stay on it long. The nausea was too severe.

Grivusangel
Post 1

I had a friend who did the MDI -- multiple daily injections. She kept a sheet of colored sticker dots to place next to injection sites so she wouldn't inject the same site too often. Her preferred spots were the abdomen and thighs.

Of course, insulin needles are short and thin, so it's usually pretty easy to find a spot for insulin injections. Everyone is different, though. My dad did best with the shots in abdomen. He didn't do as well with shots in the upper arm, and he didn't have a lot of fat on his legs, so the abdomen was the best place for him.

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