How to remove a needle from luer lock syringe

Written by barbara cannon
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How to remove a needle from luer lock syringe
It's best to avoid recapping syringe needles. (syringe image by NatUlrich from

Since the emergence of HIV and AIDS in the 1980s, regulating agencies including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) have made every effort to stop the more than 600,000 accidental needlesticks each year by health care personnel. All facilities using needles have appropriate sharps containers for the safe disposal of used needles, syringes and blood drawing supplies, to decrease the risk of needlesticks. Recapping of used needles is strongly discouraged, but in reality, there are times when medical staff may find the need to recap and remove a needle from a syringe.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Luer lock syringe
  • Luer lock needle

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  1. 1

    Place the needle cap on the bed or table with the hand that is not holding the syringe. Be careful to keep the needle away from anyone, including yourself.

    How to remove a needle from luer lock syringe
    Use the "one-handed" technique to remove a needle. (Needle & Syringe image by funkatronik from
  2. 2

    Guide the needle into the cap, using just one hand. Do not use your other hand for assistance.

  3. 3

    Pick up the cap with the syringe, so the capped needle is pointing straight up. Carefully grasp the cap near the needle hub, sliding the cap towards the syringe. Twist the cap and needle combination counterclockwise to remove them.

    How to remove a needle from luer lock syringe
    Luer lock needles have been in use for over 30 years. (needle image by Zbigniew Nowak from
  4. 4

    Twist the capped needle counterclockwise, grasping it low near the hub, to loosen it from the syringe. Dispose of the needle immediately by placing it in a sharps container.

  1. 1

    Push the finger-pad area of the safety cover with your thumb until you hear a "click" indicating the safety cover has engaged.

    How to remove a needle from luer lock syringe
    Uncapped syringes can be disposed of in appropriate sharps containers. (sharps disposal image by Keith Frith from
  2. 2

    Twist the safety capped needle counterclockwise, holding it near the hub, to remove the capped needle.

  3. 3

    Dispose of the capped needle into a sharps container.

Tips and warnings

  • Always wear disposable gloves before handling needles and syringes.
  • In the rare instance a needle will not twist off of the syringe, use a pair of Kelly forceps to grasp and twist off the capped needle near the hub.
  • Exercise extreme caution when handling needles that contain bodily fluids.
  • Never reach into a sharps container. Never push a needle or syringe down into a full sharps container. If the sharps container is full, obtain a new container.

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