Syringes & Needles | OzVials Medical Lab Supplies Australia | Discreet Shipping

General Information

The word "syringe" is derived from the Greek σύριγξ (syrinx, meaning "tube") via back-formation of a new singular from its Greek-type plural "syringes" (σύριγγες).

A syringe is a simple pump consisting of a plunger that fits tightly in a tube. The plunger can be pulled and pushed along inside a cylindrical tube (called a barrel), allowing the syringe to take in and expel a liquid or gas through an orifice at the open end of the tube.

The open end of the syringe may be fitted with a hypodermic needle, a nozzle, or tubing to help direct the flow into and out of the barrel. Syringes are often used to administer injections, insert intravenous drugs into the bloodstream, apply compounds such as glue or lubricant, and measure liquids.

Injecting of air into a blood vessel is hazardous, as it may cause an air embolism; preventing embolisms by removing air from the syringe is the reasons for the familiar image of holding a hypodermic syringe upside down, tapping it, and expelling a small amount of liquid before an injection into the bloodstream.

Re-use of needles and syringes has caused spread of diseases, especially HIV and hepatitis among intravenous drug users. In medical settings, single-use needles and syringes effectively reduce the risk of cross-contamination. Syringe filters are recommended if the substance to be injected is from a non-pharma/medical source. Disposal of sharps/needles into a sharps container is highly advised.

Medical syringes are sometimes used without a needle for orally administering liquid medicines because the dose can be measured accurately, and it is easier to squirt the medicine into the mouth instead of drinking out of a measuring spoon.

Different Tip Designs

Hypodermic syringes come with a number of designs for the area in which the blade locks to the syringe body.

  • Perhaps the most well know of these is the Luer lock, which simply twists the two together. OzVials only stocks Luer lock syringes and needles. These have proven not to slip when using oily or viscous liquids. 
  • Bodies featuring a small, plain connection are known as slip tips and are useful for when the syringe is being connected to something not featuring a screw lock mechanism.
  • Similar to this is the catheter tip, which is essentially a slip tip but longer and tapered, making it good for pushing into things where there the plastic taper can form a tight seal. These can also be used for rinsing out wounds or large abscesses in veterinary use.
  • There is also an eccentric tip, where the nozzle at the end of the syringe is not in the centre of the syringe but at the side. This causes the blade attached to the syringe to lie almost in line with the walls of the syringe itself and they are used when the blade needs to get very close to parallel with the skin (when injecting into a surface vein or artery for example).

Needle Gauge (thickness)

The word gauge tells how thick a needle is.  Depending on the needle length you choose, you might also have a choice of gauge.

  • The higher the gauge, the thinner the needle. For example, a 31 gauge needle is thinner than a 23 gauge needle ect. 

Choosing a Syringe Needle Gauge

Standard insulin syringes

Syringes for insulin users are designed for standard insulin units. The dilution of insulin is such that 1 ml of insulin fluid has 100 standard "units" of insulin. Since insulin vials are typically 10 ml, each vial has 1000 units.

Insulin syringes are made specifically for self injections and have friendly features:

  • shorter needles as insulin injections are subcutaneous (under the skin) rather than intramuscular, 
  • Finer gauge needles for less painful injection,
  • Low dead space to reduce complications caused by improper drawing of different insulin strengths.

Insulin Needle Length

The pain that insulin users may feel when they inject depends on their insulin dose, where they inject, the amount of fatty tissue under their skin, and other factors. Some insulin users prefer short needles because they find them to be more comfortable. However, some people find that the longer, original needle length is more comfortable for them.