What Is a Syringe

A syringe injection happens to be amongst so many peoples’ list of things they fear. Just by the mention of the word itself, it sends a chill pain down their spine. Well, what most people don’t know is that a syringe is different from a needle. A syringe is a device where a needle is attached to.

So, what really is a syringe? A syringe is a medical device, used by medical practitioners to inject or withdraw fluid from a body, not only of a human but also an animal’s body. A syringe consists of several parts, namely:

  • The barrel-this part is where the fluid is drawn into the needle attached to the syringe. It has graduations marks which indicate the volume of the liquid inside the syringe.
  • The plunger. The plunger is used to either push the liquid into the body or draw fluid out of the body. The syringe has a plunger cap which is where one holds as they operate the syringe. When drawing liquid out, you pull the plunger up, creating a vacuum in the barrel which pulls the liquid inside from the body.
  • The tip- this is the part where the needle is attached to the syringe. Without a needle, a syringe isn’t able to withdraw or inject blood into the body.

A needle, on the other hand, has three parts as well, the hub, the bevel, and shaft. The hub is the part where the needle is attached to the syringe and the shaft is the stem of the needle. It is long and slender and it has a hollow through which liquid passes into or out of the syringe. The bevel is the end point of the needle. It’s the point that first penetrates into the skin. The needle has also a cover for protective measures.



History of Syringes

The term syringe is originally derived from the Greek word “syrinx” which translates to the tube. It is in the 1st century AD that syringes came first to be used in Roman times. According to a documented journal called De Medicina, those syringes were used for medical purposes, to inject people with medicine. Later in the 9th century, an African surgeon hailing from Egypt invented a syringe using suction and hollow tube made of glass. More inventions of syringes started coming into play. The year 1650 saw a scientist called Blaise Pascal invent a syringe for application of fluid mechanics. This gave birth to one of the famous Physics Law called The Pascal Law.


Through the use of a syringe, he 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 invention by Pascal. In 1844, Francis Rynd, an infamous Irish scientist, created the 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 later killed her and she became the first person to be recorded to die of a drug overdose.


Letitia Mumford Geer, hailing from New York, after being granted the permit, designed a syringe that enabled to operate it using only one hand. This was in the year 1899. Fast forward into the year 1946, the brothers from England, popularly known as The Chance Brothers invented the 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 plunge. This was a key milestone as it allowed to massively sterilize different components of the syringe without having to necessarily match them up.


Charles Rothauser, an Australian scientist, invented the first ever plastic, disposable syringe made from polythene.

He created this syringe in 1949 at his factory in Adelaide. These syringes turned out to be expensive to manufacture mostly because polythene is known to soften a lot when exposed to heat. This forced that the syringes had to be chemically sterilized before exportation. Within two years, the Australian scientist invented another syringe made from polypropylene which is a plastic material that can be sterilized by heat. This was an improvement of his earlier invention.


A New Zealand pharmacist, Colin Murdoch, in 1956 was granted rights for a plastic syringe that was disposable. Becton Dickinson, in 1961, he invented the plastipak which was a disposable plastic syringe. Phil Brooks in 1974, he received US legal rights for a disposable syringe. Throughout the years, syringes have undergone modifications and improvements which in turn has brought changes in medical services delivery.


What are the benefits of a syringe?

  • Syringes are reliably fast and easy to use. If one needs to use them while at home they can easily understand the procedure with the help of a medical practitioner.
  • Syringes have graduations marks in the barrel which allow the user to define the amount of liquid they want.
  • Syringes have a plunger that helps push liquid into or out of the barrel making the process of administration of liquid medicine easy.
  • Disposable syringes have greatly reduced the need for needle sterilization. Once a needle is used it is disposed of safely.
  • Disposable syringes are by far less expensive compared to reusable syringes.
  • Disposable syringes are less harmful to the environment and as such, they need to be disposed of safely.
  • These syringes have made medical service delivery better than it was. Doctors can focus greatly on a patient ensuring a patient recovers nicely.


What are syringes used for?

Syringes are medical devices used mostly in medical institutions and center. However, syringes are abused worldwide to administer drugs and liquid substances.

  • Syringes are used to draw fluid from the body for examining.
  • Syringes are used to administer drugs into the body of a patient.
  • Syringes are used to administer artificial sperms in animals.
  • Syringes are also used in cooking. Gravy is injected into delicacies using syringes.
  • Ink cartridges in pens are refilled with ink using syringes.
  • Syringes are also used sometimes in the laboratory to apply laboratory grease.
  • Large hypodermic syringes can be used to feed small baby mammals.
  • Syringe needle can be used in the cleaning of the apparatus by applying water into squeezed and confined spaces.
  • Chemical substances such as thermal paste are packaged in syringes.
  • Syringes can also be used in areas such as workshops to spray or inject glue into tight areas.


What are the different types of syringes?

In today’s medical market there exist several kinds of syringes which include:

  • Insulin syringes
  • Hypodermic syringes
  • Injection pens
  • Needleless injectors
  • Disposable syringes
  • Specialty needles


Insulin syringes come in different capacities. There are 29g, 30g, and 31g capacity insulin syringe. The three syringes hold a different amount of insulin. Each has a needle that is already fixed. The 29g and the 30g insulin syringe have a needle that is half an inch in size. The 31g needle is, however, shorter, measuring 8mm.


The hypodermic needle is thin in nature and has a hollow tube. They have a sharp endpoint with an opening and are used to deliver liquid into the body or withdraw liquid from the body. Hypodermic needles deliver substances into the body rapidly. The needles are popular and safer during administration. Their thin and sharp end point ensures they don’t leave a hole on the skin big enough that would allow germs and bacteria to penetrate inside.


Disposable syringes come in various capacities which include 1ML, 5ML, 10 ML, 20 ML, and 60 ML. The barrels are clearly graduated with a scale of 0.01 ML margins. This helps in the selection of a suitable syringe depending on the volume of fluid one needs. The plunger has a black piston that is lubricated using silicon. This ensures the plunger moves evenly and smoothly during operation. The different syringes differ in pricing depending on capacity.


Oral syringes are used to measure liquid doses of medicine inaccurate amounts. The barrel is graduated in millimeters. They don’t have needles in their tips since medicine is meant to be squirted into the mouth of a patient. 1 ML, 2ML, 5ML are the most commonly used oral syringes although there are other oral syringes with different capacities.


Injections pens are types of needles that are user-friendly and are easier to use compared to syringes. Such a device increases patient comfort during drug administration thus improving patient’s treatment policies leading to better health. These auto-injecting devices are highly re-usable thus cutting down the cost of treatment. There is a wide range of injection pens that a patient can choose from and they are used for the treatment of various conditions. Benefits of injection pens include the ease and convenience of transportation, dosage uptake is accurate, injection pens inflict less pain on the patient’s skin and ease of use.

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