Vastus lateralis IM site

  1. Where do you stick the needle?

    My teacher had us stick a dummy today at the vastus lateralis, delt....etc...sites (IM), but the pad for the vastus lateralis was located on the top of the leg. It was on the top half of the upper leg, at the front and inline with the knee cap. I was thinking to myself, "Isn't that the rectus femoris?" I asked my teacher, but she told me that was right.

    I mean, I'm sure the rectus femoris could handle an IM injection, but why call it the vastus laterals "site" at all?

    I'm confused....
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    About Skwidward

    Joined: Oct '05; Posts: 105; Likes: 23


  3. by   crnawant2be
    I can't answer you question, but that is where my teacher told me to give one last week
  4. by   neneRN
    Your anatomy is correct; these are two different sites. You can give an IM injection in either site; the vastus lateralis is the anterior LATERAL aspect of the midthigh, the rectus femoris is the anterior midthigh. I believe the vastus lateralis is the preferred site of the two.
  5. by   Rocky#3B
    I was told that the vastus lateralis and rectus femoris are two different IM sites. The vastus lateralis is the middle 1/3 of the thigh but the lateral aspect while the rectus femoris is mid thigh at the anterior aspect. so it's exactly what you said, vastus lateralis= mid thigh on the side of the leg and rectus femoris= mid thigh on the front of the leg.
  6. by   adrienurse
    Last edit by adrienurse on Jan 24, '07
  7. by   Skwidward
    Quote from adrienurse
    I couldn't get your link to work, but I searched and found this. I think its the same site.

    That site shows in the diagram the rectus femoris and vastus lateralis as two seperate sites, but under the heading "vastus lateralis site," it describes injecting into the rectus femoris.
  8. by   adrienurse
    yep that's the one, thanks
  9. by   Roy Fokker
    Anyone taught to use a "preference" method when it comes to IMs?

    My school taught me to go:

    1. Vastus Lateralis
    2. Gluteus
    3. Deltoid

    in order of preference...
  10. by   waterfall3213
    You're right; Rectus femoris is on the top of the thigh and in not recommended becouse of prolonged pain in the injection site.
    Last edit by waterfall3213 on Apr 9, '10
  11. by   jrsmrs
    VL is quite pronounced on most people. If you get the person to flex their leg, you can see it quite easily, and feel it very easily. You're absolutely right- it's not directly on the anterior thigh, but lateral (hence the name, lol!). If mid thigh is 12:00, VL would be between 1:00 and 2:00 approximately on the right thigh, and between 10:00 and 11:00 on the left thigh.
    There's a good pic here:

    It is my understanding that VL is not used too terribly much on adults. Ventral gluteal is considered the safest spot as there are no major nerves running through it, and it is quite well developed. VL is usually used for infants as it's easy to find and the gluteals are not as well developed as they are on an adult.
  12. by   CBsMommy
    The vastus lateralis is on the outside of the leg. If you look at the jeans, it's where the hem line runs up your leg. If you flex your thigh, you should have a muscle right there and Rocky #3B is correct, is the middle one third of the thigh. Also we were told to inject in the gluteal region only as a last resort because of the siatic (sp?) nerve running through there (you wouldn't want to hit it). Good luck in your studies!
  13. by   not.done.yet
    This is the unit we are on too and we were also taught the ventral gluteal is preferable on adults with vastus lateralis not as preferred.

    You are right, the dummies (Butts, as we call them) are rather ambiguous.
  14. by   Intern67
    Quote from Roy Fokker
    Anyone taught to use a "preference" method when it comes to IMs?

    My school taught me to go:

    1. Vastus Lateralis
    2. Gluteus
    3. Deltoid

    in order of preference...
    My skool taught:

    For <1 ml, non-irritating injections: deltoid.


    1. Ventrogluteal
    2. Vastus Lateralis

    Gluteal was discouraged altogether.

    I have never witnessed a nurse using the ventrogluteal site at work or clinical. My first day at my recent job, the nurses asked me for help finding the ventrogluteal as it is being encouraged as a best practice site.