Types of Hypodermic Needles

Written by michael e carpenter
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Types of Hypodermic Needles
Hypodermic needles place shots into veins, muscles or just under the skin. (Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Hypodermic needles are used for many different purposes, from administering shots to drawing blood. The word hypodermic translates to "under skin." The needles are long, hollow cylinders with a puncturing point at the tip to pierce the skin. Hypodermic needles are classified by the bevel and gauge of the needle.

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The bevel of the needle creates the sharpness of the tip. There are three common bevel types: the standard bevel, short bevel and true short bevel. The standard bevel is the longest and sharpest of the bevel types. While sharp, the standard bevel is the most delicate and can be easily blunted. The true short bevel is the least sharp and most sturdy of the bevel types. The short bevel is in between the standard and true short and offers the most uses, according to Connecticut Hypodermics Inc.


The gauge of the needle refers to the diameter of both the inside and outside of the needle. The most commonly used gauge scale is the Stubs Needle Gauge. In medical setting, hypodermic needle gauges range from 7 to 33. Hypodermic needle gauges are produced in smaller and larger gauges, according to the Stahlmann Tube website. The smaller the gauge number, the larger the interior diameter of the needle. Larger gauges represent smaller interior needle diameter.

Common Gauges

The gauge of needle used depends on the application of the hypodermic needle. For example, when drawing blood for testing, a 16-gauge needle is commonly used. For blood donations, larger gauge needles are used to avoid damaging the red blood cells. Smaller gauge needles, which are represented by higher numbers, are used commonly to administer shots.

Disposal or Reusable

Hypodermic needles can be considered disposable or reusable. Disposable hypodermic needles are used in most medical settings, with the needle being placed in a sharps container after only one use. Reusable needles are commonly used by individuals who must administer their own shots, such as diabetics or those who suffer from allergies. Reusable needles allow for more than one shot to be administered through the same needle. Care must be taken with reusable needles, as it may result in infections or transmit diseases if not cleaned and cared for properly.

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