The ventrogluteal injection site is an area on the most prominent part of the hip that's considered the preferred site for intramuscular injections. Experts say it's one of the safest areas for such injections because of the thick thigh muscles in the area. There are also fewer blood vessels and nerves in that area.
The injection site is specifically located just below the iliac crest on the side of the thigh.
What Are Intramuscular (IM) Injections?
Intramuscular injections are sometimes useful to administer vaccines, medications, and supplements. In many cases, they're given by a medical professional, but they can also be given as part of home care for certain conditions.
Other sites for intramuscular injections include:
- Deltoid. On the outside of the arm above the armpit in the deltoid muscle. The injection point is between the armpit and shoulder.
- Vastus Lateralis. On the outside of the thigh between the hip and the knee.
- Gluteus Medius. These are called dorsogluteal injections. It's an injection into the buttocks.
Disadvantages of the Dorsogluteal Site
The dorsogluteal site, or buttocks, is one of the most complicated regions for IM injections. It has a lot of veins and is close to the important sciatic nerve that runs from your lower back down your legs.
In some cases, dorsogluteal injections can cause sciatic nerve damage, leading to temporary or permanent paralysis in one of the legs or feet.
It's also less than ideal because of the thick skin in the area, causing injections to be too shallow. If the medication or vaccine does not reach the muscle, it has not been given properly. If it's just given under the skin, it can lead to poor absorption of the substance, skin irritations, and more pain during injection.
Advantages of the Ventrogluteal Site
As previously mentioned, the muscles of the ventrogluteal site, or the hip area, are thick and there are fewer veins and nerves in this area. The skin here is also thinner, leading to a greater likelihood that the needle will reach the muscle. Studies show that this area is more reliable than injections to the buttocks.
This area can be used in adults and children age 7 months or older.
Experts say that it can be easier to get you into the position to receive an injection to this site than other sites, especially if you're not very mobile. This site can also be used to administer an injection to those who are very thin or overweight. If you're overweight, a longer needle may be needed to ensure the injection reaches the muscle.
Studies also show this area is less painful than other sites.
How to Find the Ventrogluteal Site
One studied showed that this injection site is not used as often as it should be because medical professionals do not feel confident due to lack of training.
Here are two ways to find the site.
V method. Place the opposite hand on the person's hip. If the injection will go in their right hip, use your left hand, and vice versa. Place your thumb towards the person's crotch. Put the tip of your pointer finger on the iliac crest, the most prominent part of the hip that sticks out. Then spread your middle finger, creating a V. The injection goes at the bottom of the V where your fingers meet. This method is not reliable in people with a BMI over 30.
G method. G stands for geometric. With this method, you would draw imaginary lines from major bone endpoints of the thigh and hip, creating a triangle. Then, you would draw imaginary median lines from each corner of the triangle. Where these lines meet is the injection point. This method is more reliable for people of any BMI.
Giving IM Injections at Home
You may need to give or receive injections at home. If you do:
- Use an ice pack for a few minutes before giving the injection.
- Apply firm pressure right next to the site before giving the injection or use a device called a shot blocker.
- Consider using a numbing spray or cream.
- Clean the injection site with alcohol.
When giving injections to children:
- Consider distracting them with a toy, bubbles, or by singing a song.
- Compliment and reward your child for getting the injection.
- Explain that the injection is a medicine that will help them feel better.