Intramuscular injection: instructions, implementation, risks, damages

An intramuscular injection means the administration of a liquid drug into a skeletal muscle using a syringe and cannula or pre-filled syringe.

Intramuscular injection is used for most vaccinations and for the administration of depot preparations. This form of administration bypasses the gastrointestinal tract. This is very important because numerous vaccines contain proteins and sugars that would be digested and excreted in the gastrointestinal tract. And before they can get into the bloodstream, where they are needed for antibody formation. Depending on the vaccine and type of immunization (passive or active immunization), different application methods can be used.


Intramuscular injection – preparation for implementation

What materials are needed?

The following table describes all materials required for intramuscular injection:

No. description description
1 Disposable gloves The disposable gloves are used for self-protection
2 disinfectant With the disinfectant, the hands and the injection site are disinfected as part of the preparation
3 filling needle To draw the solution for injection into the syringe. Pre-filled syringes can also be used, then is not Cannula needed.
4 injection needle To perform the intramuscular injection
5 disposable syringe Syringe with a sterile needle
6 ampoule The ampoule contains the medication or the vaccine (note the expiry date!)
7 swab Compression of the puncture site after the injection is complete
8th band Aid The patch protects the puncture site after the procedure
9 Release Dispose of used cannulas

What needle for intramuscular injection?

For men with a body weight between 58 and 118 kg, a 25 mm cannula is suitable for getting 5 mm deep into the muscle. This also applies to women who weigh between 60 and 90 kg. If a body weight of 90 kg is exceeded in female patients, a 38 mm cannula is used. A 16 mm cannula is sufficient for patients weighing less than 60 kg.

A 15 mm cannula is used in infants under 2 months. Older infants and young children are treated with a 25 mm cannula.

What needs to be considered in patient care?

Attention should be paid to patient care in the following form:

  • Obtain information about the patient
  • To inform the patient about the procedure and mode of action and obtain his consent
  • Prepare and disinfect the work surface if necessary
  • Position patient comfortably

What is there to consider legally??

By legal standards provides Every puncture represents an injury and therefore requires the patient’s consent. An oral agreement is usually sufficient for this with the Patients. In principle, intramuscular injection is the responsibility of the doctor, but can also be delegated to specialist staff such as medical assistants or nurses as well as medical students. However, there is a takeover fault for improper execution and complications.

Intramuscular injection – injection sites

Suitable injection sites are the outside of the upper arm (preferred for adults), the outside of the thigh (suitable for infants and young children) and the buttocks.

Intramuscular injection on the upper arm

According to the Standing Vaccination Committee (STIKO), the large triangular muscle of the upper arm (M. deltoideus) should be preferred as the injection site. Approximately 5 cm below the shoulder height, the upper arm is injected deep and in the middle into the highest bulge of the muscle. This is especially for small quantities (06/18/2019


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Christina Cherry
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