The Butterfly Needle: What to Expect

What is a Butterfly Needle?

A butterfly needle is a small, thin instrument made from bone or horn that’s inserted into your skin to draw out blood. They’re usually made of wood, but they could just as easily be metal or plastic. There are two types of butterfly needles: One type draws blood quickly while another takes longer to do so; both work the same way.

The advantage of using a quick draw method is that it’s quicker than drawing blood with a slower method. You don’t have to wait around for hours before you get results.

However, this means you’ll need to take extra precautions when handling the needle because if something goes wrong, you won’t be able to save yourself!

The disadvantage of using a quick draw method is that you might not get enough blood drawn. If you use too much, you risk getting sick and dying.

A slow draw method will give you the best chance of saving your life.

How Is a Butterfly Needle Used?

1) To draw blood: You insert the needle into your vein (or any other open wound), then push down on it until it comes out through the top of your arm.

It should drain out all the blood.

2) To save your life: You leave the needle in for as long as you need to (or until you’re out of danger), while your body draws up the blood it needs.

You should do this for safety measures so you don’t accidentally pull out the needle too early and bleed to death.

What Sizes Are Available?

There are a few different sizes, but the length will always be around 5.5 inches; the width can vary. The bigger the width, the more blood (and the more painful) it will draw. The smaller ones are typically .1-.2 inches, and they’re known to be very painful. There’s also a number that represents size, which goes by the diameter in millimeters. The bigger the number, the wider the needle will be.

What Are the Advantages of a Butterfly Needle?

The biggest advantage is that it’s easy to use, and it’s very effective for drawing blood. It won’t take much strength or effort to pierce your skin with one. In fact, even a child can do it! The other great thing about these needles is that they’re very affordable. You don’t have to pay much for one and can easily find them at your local drug store (behind the counter, of course).

What Are the Disadvantages of a Butterfly Needle?

The main disadvantage is that they’re painful to use. The wider ones are especially painful, and you may bleed more than expected. Not only that, but you have to dispose of them after one use. This can be a problem if you’re in a bind and away from home. It’s not like you can very well walk into your local drug store with one in your pocket!

How Do I Store a Needle?

You should never store a needle. You should only use it for its intended purpose and then get rid of it when you’re done. For safety measures, make sure you dispose of it properly so no one can pick it up and get poked with it. You should also wash your hands thoroughly after using one.

Butterfly Needle VS Lancet

A lancet has a very small pointed tip. The needle, on the other hand, is thicker and duller.

A butterfly needle goes through your skin and then pokes back out of your skin. A lancet only pokes in and out of your skin. A lancet can be used to draw blood, but it’s not as effective. It’s also more painful to use. A butterfly needle is more commonly used in medical offices for blood draws. It has a lot of advantages over lancets, hence the reason it’s used in hospitals and other medical facilities.

How Do I Use a Butterfly Needle?

If you’re using your own butterfly needle, it’s always best to sterilize it before use. You can do this by either boiling it in water or putting it in the oven at a low temperature. Once it’s sterile, you can use it to draw blood in a few easy steps:

Wash your hands thoroughly, and then put on some medical gloves.

Find an area on your body that has loose skin, such as the back of your arms, the front of your thighs, or the bottom of your feet.

Stick the needle into the skin at an angle, going back and forth until it stays in place on its own.

Pull the handle of the needle back slowly, until it won’t go back any further. This will draw blood into the chamber.

Gently release the handle, and the needle will automatically retract.

The entire process should take no more than ten seconds or so. You can then use surgical tubing to draw up the blood and transfer it to another container for storage or analysis.

What About Disposal?

When you’re finished with the needle, you can dispose of it in a few different ways. Flushing sharps down the toilet is usually a bad idea because it can clog up the system. Breaking it down is more involved and requires a specific way of doing things. It’s also very easy to cut yourself if you don’t know what you’re doing. You may also need to seek out special sharps drop-off locations in your area. The best way to dispose of it is to put it in a rigid container or a container that has a screw top lid, and then place that container inside of another one, such as a plastic bottle. You should then take it to an approved disposal location.

Sources & references used in this article:

Use of butterfly needles to draw blood is independently associated with marked reduction in hemolysis compared to intravenous catheter by A Wollowitz, PE Bijur, D Esses… – Academic Emergency …, 2013 – Wiley Online Library

Impact of cigarette smoking on papaverine-induced erection by S Glina, AC Reichelt, PP Leão, JMSM Dos Reis – The Journal of urology, 1988 – Elsevier

Tissue expansion in burn reconstruction: what can the child and family expect? by L Charles, J Leaver – Nursing children and young people, 2015 –

The Nuclear Imaging Technologist and the Pediatric Patient by M Green – Pediatric PET Imaging, 2006 – Springer

Hemolysis in vivo from exposure to pulsed ultrasound by D Dalecki, CH Raeman, SZ Child, C Cox… – Ultrasound in medicine …, 1997 – Elsevier

Effect of the initial specimen diversion technique on blood culture contamination rates by K Binkhamis, K Forward – Journal of clinical microbiology, 2014 – Am Soc Microbiol