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How To Do Deltoid Intramuscular Injections

How To Do Deltoid Intramuscular Injections

By Mike Kocsis | 10 minutes read | Last updated: February 16, 2021
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  • Medically Reviewed by Dr. George Touliatos

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    If you have been diagnosed with a medical condition including low testosterone and other hormone imbalance issues and are now on testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), then one of the low testosterone treatment options that you have been presented with is likely intramuscular injections in the deltoid. Intramuscular injections are one of the most effective treatment methods for a variety of conditions and imbalances, including low testosterone. However, there are multiple sites for intramuscular injections, giving you many options. One of the most popular types of injections for treatments such as low testosterone and other hormone imbalance conditions are deltoid intramuscular injections. These types of injections provide you with an easy way to administer your treatments and are relatively simple to conduct when you are educated on the topic.

    If you are going to use deltoid intramuscular injections for your treatment, then it’s important to know as much as possible about what they are, what the risks are, why they are used often, and how to conduct them safely. With the information in this guide, you’ll gain more insight into whether this type of injection is right for you and your specific diagnosis. Before you inject any testosterone into your body you should have gone through all the necessary testosterone blood tests and doctor consultations to determine the correct treatment path for your hormone imbalance and specific circumstances.

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    What is an intramuscular injection?

    The first step to knowing whether deltoid intramuscular injections are right for you is to know exactly what an intramuscular injection is. The name of intramuscular injections gives some clues as to what they refer to, but it is beneficial to know exactly what you are talking about when you discuss the possibility of using deltoid intramuscular injections as a treatment method.


    As the name implies, intramuscular injection is one that is inserted directly into a muscle. There are several benefits to intramuscular injections and even some drawbacks. With intramuscular injection, you will be using a needle that carries the medication that you need. For many treatments, you will need to prepare this treatment and inject it directly into your deltoid muscle.

    While an intramuscular injection is one that is used directly on the muscles, a deltoid intramuscular injection is one that is specifically designed to be injected into the deltoid muscle. For some treatments, this area is preferred. However, most of the time, this area is selected at the preference of the person receiving the treatment due to convenience or comfort.

    For those that are experiencing low testosterone or another condition, intramuscular injections have likely been recommended to them as an effective way to administer testosterone replacement therapy.

    What are intramuscular injections commonly used for?

    Intramuscular injections are one of the most common medical procedures out there. In modern medicine, they are commonly used to administer vaccines, medications such as testosterone and other chemicals that serve a medical purpose in your body. Most commonly, they are used to administer vaccines and drugs. For this reason, many common drugs are created in a liquid format so that they can be used with an intramuscular injection.

    Though injections are one of the most common methods to administer drugs, they are far from the only option. Most of the time, intramuscular injections are used when other methods are not an option. Many times, drugs are administered using oral pills, intravenous injections, or subcutaneous injections, all of which are slightly more simple and sometimes safer. There are benefits to each type of injection or medication. Sometimes, drugs are just more suitable for an intramuscular injection than a pill or injection into fatty tissue.

    One of the most common things that intramuscular injections are used for is TRT to treat low testosterone. Deltoid intramuscular injections are a common way to administer testosterone treatments for those that are unable to produce enough testosterone to maintain healthy function in their body. The deltoid injection site offers many benefits for this treatment, as does the method of intramuscular injection.

    About the deltoid injection site

    If you have ever taken an intramuscular injection for medication, then you know that there are many possible sites for the injection that you could use such as injecting into the quads or injecting into the glutes / ventroglutes and dorsalglutes. Many people choose the deltoid site for a number of reasons, but most of them have to do with comfort and convenience. In fact, it is the site that is most commonly used for vaccines and similar procedures. This is because it is easy to administer in this location and typically less painful.

    One of the drawbacks to the deltoid injection site is that it is not always the best choice if you are going to be self-injecting your treatment or medication. The reason is that it’s not an easy location to reach around and inject yourself. It is sometimes an awkward angle. Another limitation of the deltoid injection site is that it doesn’t contain much muscle mass, which limits the amount of medication that you can safely inject into the site at a time. Usually, it is not recommended that you inject more than 1 milliliter into this injection site with the amount of muscle mass that typically exists in this location.

    When you use the deltoid intramuscular injection for your medication, you will either have to master the art of safely injecting yourself in this injection site, or you will have to find a caregiver, friend, or colleague to help you with it. It is usually safer to find a companion that can help you with this injection. For this reason, if you are going to travel anywhere alone, it might not be the best injection site for you. However, it is possible to practice giving this injection to yourself.

    How to locate the deltoid injection site

    deltoid-im-injection-siteIf you are going to use the deltoid intramuscular injection safely and effectively, then you first need to know how to locate the site and where the site is on the body. To do this, you should feel the deltoid area for the bone in the shoulder at the top of your upper arm. Once you feel the bone protrusion, the site that you should inject into is located about 1-2 inches below. It is important that you inject into the right location in order for the injection to be safe, but also for it to have maximum effectiveness.

    Benefits of the deltoid intramuscular injection

    As you know, there are many different intramuscular injection sites that can be used to administer injections, vaccines, and treatments. However, deltoid intramuscular injection sites remain one of the most common because they carry many benefits over other injection sites.

    One of the most powerful benefits of injecting into the deltoid is that it is a very easy site to locate. With other injection sites, you might spend minutes trying to find the correct spot to inject. Finding the correct spot to inject is very important, especially when considering that you are injecting medication into your body. Without the right procedure for the injection, you could easily miss out on the intended positive effects of the drug.

    Another reason that the deltoid is used so commonly for injections is that it is very easy for people to ask for help with this injection site. If you’ve noticed, many vaccines in children and adults are administered in the deltoid because it is an easy spot to access for the doctor giving the treatment and doesn’t invade personal space or boundaries. It’s also easy to ensure that the needle goes into the muscle straight and doesn’t cause any unnecessary complications from the injection.

    How to conduct a deltoid intramuscular injection

    If you are going to be using the deltoid intramuscular injection site frequently on your own, it is important that you know how to find the site, prepare the injection, and inject it correctly into the recommended area. Knowing this information will allow you to accurately and safely administer the treatment and ensure that it has the desired effects. This process will outline the typical procedure for injecting into the deltoid intramuscular injection site.

    Practice good hygiene

    The first step that you should take before you do anything else is to make sure that you practice good hygiene and keep things clean. This means that you should wash your hands before touching the injection site or any of the injection equipment that you will be using. It’s very important that you wash your hands thoroughly and ensure that you clean in between your fingers, underneath your fingernails, and any other location that can collect germs and bacteria. If you don’t wash your hands, you are putting yourself at risk of giving yourself an infection, which complicates the procedure and can lead to other risks.

    When you wash your hands ahead of the treatment, you should do so with warm water and soap and it should take 20 seconds or more.

    Gather your equipment

    Once you have washed your hands and ensured that you are not putting yourself at an added risk, next you will need to gather all of the supplies and equipment that you’ll be needing for the deltoid intramuscular injection that you’ll be performing. The supplies that you will need might vary on which treatment or drug you will be injecting, but many treatments will require the same equipment:

    • Needles with syringe
    • Testosterone ampules/medication that you’ll be injecting
    • Alcohol pads to help clean the injection site
    • Gauze to help wipe down the injection site and absorb any blood
    • Disposal method for needles and syringe (puncture-proof sharps bin)
    • Bandage (optional) to cover the injection site when you are finished

    With this equipment, you will have all the supplies that you will need to perform the injection in a safe and effective manner. If you don’t have all of these supplies gathered ahead of time, you’ll be faced with the task of trying to gather them on the fly, which is not an ideal situation.

    Injection site familiarization

    When you have completed the prior two steps, you are ready to start getting into the injection process. The first thing you will need to do is locate the site that you will be injecting into and ensure that you are familiar with it. This part of the process is very important because you need to be precise in where you inject to ensure the best results. Luckily, the deltoid intramuscular injection site is one of the easiest sites to find and inject into.

    To locate the deltoid injection site, feel for the bone, place two fingers below it, and imagine a region a couple of inches below your fingers that you will inject. The injection site should be at the center of the width of the arm. Make sure that your muscle is relaxed and proper technique dictates that you spread the skin tight with two fingers and inject between your two fingers for best results and a clean injection.

    More hygiene

    Before you inject the treatment into the deltoid injection site, make sure that you clean the area that you will be injecting into. This means that you will need the alcohol swab that you collected in the previous steps. Clean thoroughly and allow for the skin to dry from the cleaning before you move forward any further.

    Draw the testosterone into the syringe

    The next step is to prepare your syringe by putting the medication into it and getting it ready for injection. Remove the cap of the syringe, draw air into it up to the dose that you will be injecting for the treatment, and push that air into the vial that contains the medication. Pull the plunger back up to the correct volume after turning the vial upside down. You can remove any air bubbles that occur by tapping the syringe and then gently pushing the plunger to push the air bubbles out of the needle. Once there are no air bubbles and you have the volume of medication that you need, you are ready to inject.

    Inject into the deltoid intramuscular injection site

    When you have all of the previous steps completed, you are ready to perform the injection. Make sure that you insert the needle firmly and that it is injected perpendicular to the muscle. Do not insert the needle at an angle. When you push the needle into the injection site, make sure that you do not push the plunger in as well. Once it is injected pull the plunger back a bit. This is to look for blood in the syringe. This is required for some medications, and not required for others. Consult your doctor about which is necessary for your injection. Push the medication slowly using the plunger and remove the needle when finished.

    Watch our Video on How to do a deltoid intramuscular injection


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    This article has been researched and written based on scientific evidence and fact sheets that have then been crossed checked by our team of doctors and subject matter experts.

    References, sources and studies used alongside our own in-house research have been cited below, most of which contain external clickable links to reviewed scientific paper that contain date stamped evidence.

    Our team of healthcare experts and GMC registered doctors are licensed to UK GMC standards. We strive to provide you with the latest evidence based, researched articles that are unbiased, honest and provide you with accurate insights, statistics and helpful information on the discussed topic to ensure you gain a better understanding of the subject. You can read more about our Editorial Process by clicking here.

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    About the Author: Mike Kocsis

    Mike KocsisMike Kocsis has an MBA with a focus on healthcare administration and is an entrepreneur and medical case manager for Balance My Hormones Ltd which offers medical services in the UK and Europe. Mike has over 20 years of experience in the healthcare sector, much of that working with people who have hormone imbalances. Mike has appeared on podcasts and radio and is an expert speaker on the subject of hormone imbalance. He specialises in Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) and Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and has helped thousands of people suffering from hormone imbalances recover and regain control of their lives. You can follow him on LinkedIn and on the Balance My Hormones YouTube Channel.

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