Intramuscular (IM) injections are used to deliver medication deep into your muscles. Your muscles have lots of blood flowing through them, so medications injected into them are quickly absorbed into your bloodstream.
A ventrogluteal injection is an IM injection into an area on the side of your hip known as the ventrogluteal site.
Keep reading to learn about the benefits of ventrogluteal injections and how to administer them.
IM injections are often used to deliver:
- pain relievers
You may need to give yourself an IM injection if you take certain medications or are undergoing hormone therapy.
Ventrogluteal injections are considered one of the safest types of IM injection. The tissue around your ventrogluteal site is very thick and far removed from any major blood vessels or nerves. This greatly reduces your risk of accidentally injuring yourself.
You also only have a thin layer of skin over the muscles around your ventrogluteal site. This reduces your risk of accidentally injecting the medication under your skin, which can reduce the effects of medications and cause pain.
While ventrogluteal injections are considered to be one of the safest options for IM injection, they can be difficult if not challenging to do on your own. Make sure you go over how to find the ventrogluteal site with your doctor.
To make sure you’ll be able to do it correctly on your own, practice finding the ventrogluteal site several times with the help of a friend, family member, or caregiver.
Also, make sure you’re familiar with aseptic technique to prevent infections.
Finding the ventrogluteal site
- You should lie on your side with the side of your body that you’ll be using for the injection facing up.
- Bend your knee on the side of your body that you’ll be using for the injection.
- Have your friend, family member, or caregiver, place the palm of their hand on the greater trochanter of the femur. This is the bony part that sticks out of your upper thigh near your hip.
- They will then locate the anterior iliac crest and place your index finger on it. The iliac crest is the “wing” of your hip bone. Their thumb should be pointed toward the front of your leg. If they can’t touch your iliac crest with your index finger, they should slide their hand up until they can find it.
- They should spread their middle finger away from the index finger so that the fingers create a “V” shape.
- The injection site is in the middle of this “V” and should be at the level of the knuckles of your index and middle finger.
- Once you’re sure you’ve located the correct site, you should mark the area so that you can find it again when you self-administer, until you’re comfortable finding the site on your own.
Once you’re confident that you can find your ventrogluteal site, gather all the supplies you’ll need, including:
- needle and syringe filled with medication
- sterile gloves
- alcohol wipes
- sterile gauze
- puncture-proof container for the used needle and syringe
Make sure these supplies are easy for you to reach.
After you’ve found your ventrogluteal site and have your supplies ready, put on sterile gloves and use an alcohol wipe to sterilize the site and the area around it. Allow the area to dry completely.
Once you’ve sterilized the area, locate the injection site again. Follow these steps to give yourself the injection:
- Before you lie down, pull straight up on the cap of the needle to remove it. Carefully place it nearby, in a spot you can reach while lying down.
- Lie down on your side, with the injection site facing up.
- Inject the needle into your skin at a 90-degree angle.
- Although there’s no evidence for the need to aspirate the plunger when using the VG site, many experts still teach this technique. After the needle pierces your skin, aspirate slightly to check for blood. That is, pull back on the plunger for 5 to 10 seconds and check to see if any blood has entered the syringe. If you see blood in the syringe, you may have hit a vein. Discard the needle and syringe and start over with fresh supplies.
- If you don’t see any blood, keep pressing the plunger on the syringe to inject the medication.
- When all the medication has been injected, pull the needle straight out.
- Apply sterile gauze and a Band-Aid.
- Place the used syringe and needle into a container designed to hold needles. Never reuse needles.
While ventrogluteal injections are one of the safest types of IM injection, they carry the same risks as any other injection, including:
- injury to bone, blood vessels, or nerves
- muscle atrophy
You can reduce your risk of having complications by thoroughly going over how to find your ventrogluteal site with your doctor and following proper sterilization techniques.
Don’t give yourself an injection if you notice the following near the injection site:
- inflamed, irritated, or bruised skin
- a muscle contraction
Ventrogluteal injections are one of the safest ways to administer certain medications that can’t be taken by mouth. However, it can be hard to locate the site and very difficult to self-inject.
Make sure you work with your doctor to make sure you’re comfortable finding the ventrogluteal site on your own.
Work with a friend, family member, or caregiver until you’re comfortable finding the site. Injecting medication into the wrong site can have serious consequences.