At first glance, a butterfly needle resembles a Huber n […]
At first glance, a butterfly needle resembles a Huber needle, which is also winged. Huber needles, however, are bent at a 90-degree angle so that they can be securely placed in an implanted chemotherapy port.
While all butterfly needles are similarly designed, there are variations. Butterfly needles are measured in gauges and typically range in size from 18-gauge to 27-gauge. The higher the gauge, the smaller the needle.
By way of illustration, a 27-gauge needle is the size commonly used for insulin injections. Smaller gauge needles are used if an injectable fluid is thick or if blood is being collected for transfusion. Most butterfly needles are no more than three-quarters of an inch (19 millimeters).
Though butterfly needles can be left in a vein for five to seven days if properly secured, they are more commonly used for short-term infusions.
The IV equipment or collection container is attached to tubing that's connected to the needle, rather than the needle. This is helpful, as there is less chance of injury if either is yanked or dropped.1?
Tubing can range in size from 8 inches to 15 inches (20 to 35 centimeters). Shorter tubes are used for blood draws. Longer ones are intended for IV applications and may have roller valves to regulate the flow. The tubes may also be colored so that nurses can differentiate which line is which if more than one is used.
Some butterfly needle connectors have built-in "male" ports that can be inserted into vacuum tubes. Other connectors have "female" ports into which syringes or lines can be inserted.