Butterfly Needles Explained (When to Use Them & Why)

When taking a phlebotomy course in NYC, you’ll learn about and practice administering a variety of needles, including butterfly needles. Butterfly needles, which are also known as a winged infusion set or a scalp vein set, are commonly used on babies, young children, and the elderly in order to draw blood or to administer medication using an IV.

Here’s what you need to know about butterfly needles, including when to use them and why they’re used.

Butterfly Needles 101

A butterfly needle is used to access a superficial vein and can be used for drawing blood as well as for an IV injection. These needles are much easier to use and are much less painful for patients. This is because of the winged tubing which allows for greater flexibility. If you need to draw blood from a patient with small veins or ones that are hard to see and feel, it’s best to use a butterfly needle.

Butterfly needles are available in a gauge bore range of 18 to 27. The most commonly used gauge bores are 21G and 23G, while extremely small gauge bores like 25G and 27G are rarely used because they cause the blood sample to clot, making it invalid to use for testing.

As you’ll learn when undergoing phlebotomy training in NYC, you’ll want to use a 23G needle when working with pediatric and geriatric patients, as well as those with difficult veins, especially when administering the needle in the hand.

A larger needle, such as a 21G, is best used for drawing blood as the needle is a little thicker and allows more blood to be collected quicker.

Since butterfly needles are often less painful than straight needles, you may encounter patients who specifically ask you to use a butterfly needle. What’s important is that you use the proper gauge to get the job done effectively, quickly, and, most importantly, as pain-free as possible.

Types of Butterfly Needles

The most standard type of butterfly needle is the standard safety device. This needle comes in a variety of sizes and consists of tubing, a needle, and a hub or luer lock.

After performing venipuncture, you must hold the hub of the butterfly to activate the safety mechanism. Once the needle is out, you pull the tubing and cover the needle using the safety device.

A newer type of butterfly needle is the pushbutton safety device which offers a slide and lock safety device. This minimizes the risk of accidental needle sticks.

Benefits of Butterfly Needles

While straight needles are much easier to use, butterfly needles offer a variety of benefits, including:

  • Minimal pain for the patient
  • Ability to reach more body surface
  • Designed for angle insertion
  • Able to be used on wrist, hand, and scalp veins

By understanding these benefits and knowing when to use butterfly needles, you can master your phlebotomy courses in NYC and eventually start your career in the healthcare and medical industries!

All About Our Phlebotomy Program

While there are all sorts of training centers that offer students the ability to earn a phlebotomy certification in NYC, ABC Learning Center is the ideal location to get the training you need.

At our center not only will you learn the skills needed to become a phlebotomist, you’ll also learn the skills needed to work as an EKG technician. Our EKG and Phlebotomy courses teach you not only how to administer needles, but how to administer stress tests, basic EKGs, and Holter monitoring.

What’s even better is that our phlebotomy and EKG training in NYC courses are affordable. The total cost of the program is $1,700, and you can have your certification in just 8 weeks!

Kickstart your career with our phlebotomy training in NYC. Call us today at (718) 364-6700 to enroll or to learn about our other programs.