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Intramuscular Injection Sites

Intramuscular Injection Sites

There are four intramuscular injection sites where one can administer drugs. The following article will cover information to help you avoid injury.
WellnessKeen Staff
There are certain injection sites like the skin, beneath the skin, blood vessels, nerves as well as the bones. Intramuscular (IM) injection is a medical term for 'shots' that are given into a muscle. One needs to take injections for getting vaccinated, flu shots, medications, etc. There are a total of 4 intramuscular injection sites, one on each side of the body. This means there are a total of 8 possible sites.

IM Injection Sites for Adults

As mentioned above, there are 8 possible IM injection sites for adults. It is very important that one keeps changing the site of injection in case one needs these shots regularly. Because, doing otherwise would affect the building up of scar tissue and the way medications work. Following are the sites for IM injection in adults:

Vastus Lateralis Muscle
This is one of the most preferred sites. Thigh muscle or vastus lateralis muscle runs along the front side of your thigh, little towards the outer side. You need to feel this muscle by placing your thumb in the middle of the thigh and running your fingers along the side. You need to divide the thigh into thirds from the top to bottom. When you administer the medication, the needle shot should be placed exactly into the middle third of the thigh. Make sure you undertake palpation of the muscle to know if there is sufficient mass in the thigh to give the shot.

Ventrogluteal Muscle
The next IM injection site for adults is the hip muscle or the ventrogluteal muscle. This site is preferred by many medical caregivers as it has the least chances of injuries to occur. The bones in the hips are clearly defined, thus, one has less chances of running into a nerve or blood vessel. When administering the shot, place the hand on the top of the thigh near the hip bone. The thumb should be placed at the groin such that the wrist is in line with the thigh. The fingers need to be pointed towards the head. You need to feel the bone with your pinkie and ring finger. When you do, spread the middle finger and the index finger like forming a 'V'. You need to give your intramuscular shot right between these fingers.

Deltoid Muscle
The next site of IM injection is the deltoid muscle or the upper-arm muscle. You can locate the deltoid muscle laterally on the upper arm. You need to be extra careful with this site as the radial nerve and radial artery are in close proximity of the muscle. You need to carefully undertake palpation of the muscle and find the safest IM injection site for adults. When administering the shot, expose the upper arm and begin to feel for the acromion process. This is the bone that is located across the upper arm. Place your palm on the shoulder and spread the thumb away from your fingers. This will look like an upside down 'V'. The upper arm of the patient should be properly centered in the 'V' of your palm. Now, give the injection right into the middle of the 'V'.

Dorsogluteal Muscle
The dorsogluteal muscle is the large muscle on the rear end or the buttocks. This is the region where most of the adults get their shots. You need to expose one buttock and wipe it with alcohol from the top of the crack from the cheeks to the side of the body. Then divide the buttock into quadrants, halfway across and down the middle. You need to administer the medication at the site towards the hip in the upper-outer quadrant.

Pediatric IM Injection Site

Pediatric IM injection site slightly differs from those in adults. This is because their body is still not fully developed, and most of the time, the patient is very fidgety. It is very important to choose the right intramuscular injection site for children to avoid any kind of injury to nerves and bones. Following are the sites for IM injection in children:

The injection site for infants who are 0 to 6 months of age is the upper thigh or the vastus lateralis muscle. The injection is given on the anterolateral area of the thigh, in the middle-third part of the thigh between the greater trochanter and lateral femoral condyle. Infants within the age group of 1 to 12 months should also be given injections in the anterolateral thigh muscle. A toddler in the age group of 1 to 2 years can be given shots in the anterolateral thigh muscle as well as the deltoid muscle in the arm. Deltoid muscle should be chosen only after proper palpation for the presence of adequate muscle mass. Sites for children within the age group of 3 to 18 years include the deltoid muscle as well as the anterolateral thigh muscle.

You need to select the proper sites for giving medication as it will ensure that the medicine is properly absorbed in the body. It will also avoid injuring the nerves, bones, and veins in the process. Palpation of muscles before giving injections will make sure that there is enough muscle mass for absorption of the medication.

Disclaimer: This WellnessKeen article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.