Intramuscular Injection (Self-injection) (IM Injection; Injection, IM; Injection, Intramuscular)
An intramuscular (IM) injection is a shot where the needle goes into the muscle layer under the skin to deliver medicine.This can be given by a doctor or nurse, or you can inject yourself.IM injections are deeper than subcutaneous injections (given under the skin).
A needle passes through skin and fat layers into the muscle fibers to deliver medicine.
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Parts of the Body Involved
- Upper arm
- Top of the thigh
Reasons for Procedure
Some medications are put in the muscle and absorbed slowly over time.Other medications are put in the muscle because they are absorbed faster and, if taken by mouth, would not be effective.
These medications may be given using an IM injection:
- Certain antibiotics
- Certain contraceptive hormones
- Most vaccines
- Epinephrine injections for severe allergic reactions
Risk Factors for Complications During the Procedure
The risk factor is having an allergy to the IM medication.
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Make sure you have all of the items that you will need (eg, syringe, medicine, and cleaning materials).
- Wash hands with warm, soapy water before giving the injection.
- Select a site and cleanse the area with a cotton ball soaked in topical (rubbing) alcohol.
- Wait for the site to dry.
Description of Procedure
- Remove the needle cap.
- Pinch a 2- or 3-inch fold of skin between your thumb and index finger.
- Holding the syringe the way you would a pencil, insert the needle at a 90 angle to the pinched-up skin. (The needle should be completely covered by skin).
Hold the syringe with one hand.With the other, pull back the plunger to check for blood in the syringe.
- If you see blood, do not inject. Withdraw the needle and start again at a new site.
- If you do not see blood, slowly press down on the plunger until it stops.
- Remove the needle from the skin and gently hold an alcohol pad on the injection site. Do not rub.
- If there is bleeding at the site of injection, apply a bandage.
- Immediately put the syringe and needle into a container that is puncture-proof.
- Find out what services are available in your area for disposing biological waste.
Will It Hurt?
Depending on the medication, there is usually some discomfort at the injection site.Soreness in the muscle is also common.