Intradermals are small fine needles that can be embedded in a point or an area (Figure 6.9). They are an excellent choice for threading (i.e., connecting) points in the ear. The most common areas for intradermal needle use are points that are large or on an area such as the Constipation area or various vertebral segments.
Intradermal needles are sterile and come in various lengths. The most common lengths are 3 and 6 mm, with the longer needle indicated by the higher number. Choose the size which best fits the affected area.
Before inserting the intradermal needle, clean the ear with alcohol and allow the ear to dry naturally. Peel back the packaging of the needle and pick up the needle with your tweezers or forceps positioned at a 90° angle to the needle. This angle allows you to easily insert the needle into the point.
The needle can then be covered with a small piece of tape to keep it from bending, falling out, or getting wet, which could lead to infection. Intradermals may be “piggybacked” (i.e., arranged back to back) in order to treat an area such as the lumbar vertebrae.
If comfortable, leave the needle in for 2 to 5 days, then have the patient return to you for removal. Because intradermals are implanted subcutaneously, they must be pulled out in a particular direction Thus, the main disadvantage of an interdermal needle is that its use necessitates that the patient return to the office within 3 to 5 days, or earlier if the patient experiences any discomfort.
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