Intramuscular Injection: Definition, Administration & Complications

Intramuscular Injection: Definition, Administration & Complications
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  • 0:01 What Are Intramuscular…
  • 0:31 Where Are Injections…
  • 1:41 How Are Injections…
  • 2:39 What Are Potential…
  • 3:33 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lynee Carter
In this lesson, you will learn about intramuscular injections, including how to give them properly and any problems that may occur during the procedure.

What Are Intramuscular Injections?

An intramuscular, or IM, injection is a procedure used to insert medications into the muscle tissue. Some medication cannot be taken by mouth because digestive juices can alter their effects. Others can be very irritating when they go into fatty tissues or veins. IM injections insert medication deep into the muscle, where there is an adequate supply of blood. This facilitates fast absorption and leads to better effects and outcomes.

Where Are Intramuscular Injections Administered?

There are five main locations on the human body where IM injections are administered. It's important to know them, because the correct location can vary based on a recipient's age, body mass and type of medication.

The dorsogluteal injection site is in the upper outer quadrant of the buttock. Be careful to identify the correct location because permanent damage to the body can occur if the injection reaches the sciatic nerve that is close by.

The ventrogluteal injection site is located in the upper side of the hip. It is the preferred site for most IM injections given to adults.

The deltoid injection site is one to two inches below the shoulder region. Many adult vaccinations are administered at this site.

There are two IM injection sites located in the leg. The vastus lateralis is located mid-thigh on the outer side of the leg. The rectus femoris is also located mid-thigh, but on the anterior part of the leg. These are common sites used in infants and young children but can be an alternate site for adults.

How Are Intramuscular Injections Administered?

Intramuscular injections are administered with needles that range in length. The size of the recipient determines the best type of needle, to ensure the muscle tissue is reached. A needle that is 1 and a 1/2 inches or longer is appropriate for someone who has a large body mass, while a needle that is 1/2 - to 1-inch long is appropriate for someone with a smaller body mass.

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