What is a syringe?
Having to get an injection with a needle and syringe is one of people’s biggest fears. Just the topic itself creates a feeling of nervousness and dread in so many. What most people don’t understand is the syringe is technically different than the needle. It is a common misconception that a syringe always comes included with a sharp needle tip.
So what really is a syringe?
A syringe is a scientific tool designed to draw up and hold specifically measured fluid, and to also dispense or administer this liquid. Syringes are used by medical practitioners, scientists, people with specific medical needs, and also for a variety of unrelated, non-medical applications.
The components of a syringe include the barrel, the plunger, the needle, and the cap.
-The barrel is the part that can hold fluid. It consists of a long, hollow cylinder with graduated markings along the side which represent units of measure. The graduations allow the user to measure volume specifically and accurately.
-The plunger is used to either draw up liquid or push it out. The plunger forms a tight seal along the internal circumference of the barrel, thus creating a suction barrier to easily such up fluids and also push them out of the syringe.
-The needle attached to the distal end of the syringe barrel. It can attach directly by pushing the two pieces together for some syringe designs, but the most popular and most reliable connection of syringe barrel and needle is the luer lock spin on needle tip. This attachment is exactly as it sounds: It is a “spin on” connection similar to a bottle cap, threading the two components securely together for a reliable syringe and needle connection. The needle itself has a hub, a shaft, and a tip. The hub refers to the portion connecting to the syringe barrel. This connection will either be a push on or a luer lock connecting needle. The shaft is the hollow cylinder functioning very similarly as the syringe barrel, as both components are hollow and both allow liquid to pass through, and lastly the bevel or blunt tip. A blunt tip is used for many non-medical industrial applications. A bevel tip is used mostly for medical needs of both humans and animals.
-The final piece of a syringe is the protective cap. This cap securely attaches over the needle portion to provide protection to the user. Caps must be removed before use and it is recommended needles are capped before safely being disposed of.
History of the syringe:
The term syringe is originally derived from the Greek work “syrinx” which translates to the tube. It was in the 1st century AD that syringes first came to be used in Roman times. According to a documented journal called De Medicina, those syringes were used for medical purposes, to administer medicine through an injection. Later, in the 9th century, an African Egyptian surgeon invented a glass syringe using suction and hollow tube. In 1650 Blaise Pascal invented a syringe for the application of fluid mechanics. This gave birth to one of the most famous Physics Laws called The Pascal Law. Through the use of a syringe, Pascal established that a pressure is exerted equally in all directions in a liquid that is confined, and pressure differences remain the same throughout. More inventions followed this discovery by Pascal. In 1844, Francis Rynd, a famous Irish scientist, created a hollow needle which he used to make the first ever recorded skin injection. 1853 saw two scientists, Alexander Wood and Charles Pravaz develop a more advanced syringe. Their invention had a finer bevel that would penetrate the skin easily compared to earlier inventions. Apparently, Alexander’s wife used the syringe to inject herself with morphine which led to her death. She became the first person to be recorded to die of a drug overdose. In 1899 Letitia Mumford Geer from New York, after being granted a permit, designed a syringe that was able to be operated with only one hand. Fast forward to the year 1946, and two brothers commonly known as the Chance Brothers invented the first widely used glass syringe. Their invention was one of a kind, and it marked a revolutionary point of success in the field of medicine. The syringe had an interchangeable barrel and plunger. This was a key milestone as it allowed sterilization of different components of the syringe without having to necessarily match them up. Charles Rothauser, an Australian scientist, invented the first ever plastic, disposable syringe. Originally created in 1949 at his factory in Adelaide, this syringe was made of a polythene plastic not well suited for heated sterilization. These syringes turned out to be very expensive to manufacture, mostly because the polythene is known to soften when exposed to heat. This required the syringes to be chemically sterilized before exportation. Within two years, he improved his formula to make syringes from polypropylene plastic which was able to be sterilized by heat. This was a significant improvement. In 1956 a New Zealand Pharmacist, Colin Murdoch was granted rights for a plastic, disposable syringe. In 1961 Becton Dickinson invented the plastipak which was a plastic disposable syringe. In 1974 Phil Brooks received US legal rights for a disposable syringe. Throughout the years, syringes have undergone modifications and improvements which in turn has brought changes and improvements in medical delivery services.
-Syringes are reliable, fast ,and easy to use.
-Syringes can be used at home or at a medical facility.
-Syringes a used by medical institutions, laboratory and research facilities, as well as trained individuals with specific medical needs.
-Syringes have graduation marks along the side of each barrel, thus allowing the user to easily and accurately measure fluids.
-Syringes have a plunger that creates the pressure and suction needed to draw up fluids or push them out.
-Disposable syringes have greatly reduced the need for needle sterilization. Once a needle has been used, it can be safely disposed of.
-Disposable syringes are by far less expensive compared to reusable glass syringes.
-Syringes can be used to draw up fluid from the body or from another source such as a medical research tube or vial.
-Syringes can be used to administer medicine and fluids into both humans and animals as part of a routine or emergent medical need.
-Syringes can be used to administer artificial sperms in animals.
-Syringes can be used for many applications in laboratory and scientific study.
-Syringes can be used in cooking. Gravy is injected into delicacies using a food syringe.
-Ink cartridges are refilled using syringes.
-Syringes can also have laboratory and industrial applications applying grease and glues to hard to access spaces.
-Large hypodermic syringes can be used with a catheter tip to feed small baby mammals.
-Chemical substances such as thermal paste are packaged in syringes.
Most syringes in use today are disposable and intended for one use only. This has decreased the cost of syringes and has led to improvements in healthcare delivery and treatments of both humans and animals. Syringes have a wide variety of applications, from industrial, laboratory and scientific tasks, hospital and on-site medical care, and also by trained individuals able to manage their own needs in the privacy of their home. Syringes come in a variety of sizes ranging from very small needled Insulin Syringes, and progressing to very large syringes with catheter tips. Syringes can come with a needle tip, no needle tip, needle tips separately, a beveled needle or a blunt needle. There are many choices because there are many uses. In regards to human and animal use, syringes will have a sharp beveled needle tip to easily puncture the surface of the skin to draw up or administer medicine or fluids. The very smallest syringes with needles permanently attached are called Insulin Syringes. This term describes the whole unit of fixed needle tip with protective cap, barrel, and plunger. In many cases, Insulin syringes are used for administering insulin but can also be used for medicine and fluids that have to be measured in very specific, small increments. The smaller the syringe, the more specific the measurement of fluid is able to be. Next are 1mL, 3mL, 5mL and larger hypodermic syringes with or without needles. When referring to an “mL” we can also use the term “cc” interchangeably. These are measurements of liquid by volume and can be specifically measured by reading along the side barrel of any syringe. As the number gets larger, the volume of liquid also gets larger, and the accuracy and ability to measure very specifically declines. Respectively, when referring to the needle tip sizing: A very low number such as 18 gauge refers to a very big, very thick needle tip which will draw up fluid quickly and easily. The term gauge is meant to describe the size of this needle tip, small or large, so the correct size may be selected for the task at hand. A 25 gauge is a very small needle which is commonly attached to a 1mL, 3mL, 5mL, or larger syringe, and because it is a small, thin syringe needle tip, thick fluids may be difficult to draw up and pass through the small needle. Insulin Syringes have needle tips fixed to each barrel in sizes: 27, 28, 29, 30, and 31gauge. Once again, as the numbers get larger, the size of the needle gets smaller or finer. Most insulin syringes have a ½ inch needle tip length except for the 30 & 31 gauge. The 30 gauge has the option of both a ½ inch or a 5/16 inch needle length, but the smallest insulin syringe which is the 31 gauge only offers the short 5/16 inch needle length.
Luer Lock Needle Tips