Skip to comments.ALL YOUR TINY NEEDLE ARE BELONG TO US: Japanese unveil world's smallest needle, Almost painless!
Posted on 12/17/2002 12:30:47 PM PST by new cruelty
A Japanese medical company says it has built a prototype of the world's thinnest hypodermic needle, which at just 0.2 millimetres wide can slide into skin with almost no pain.
A spokeswoman for Tokyo-based Terumo Co. said the company expects to have a commercially viable model ready in one or two years.
Thinner needles are "less invasive, both physically and psychologically," said Joan Erickson, a nurse educator who works with diabetics in British Columbia. "The bigger the needle, the bigger the hole is what it boils down to ... smaller's better."
The newly designed needle is just two-thirds as wide as the current smallest model, the 0.3mm-wide "30-gauge" needle.
It has been adopted as the needle of choice for diabetics, many of whom have to inject themselves four times daily with insulin, said Ms. Erickson.
"A more fine needle will excite fewer pain receptors in the skin and will cause less tissue damage and will cause less pain," said Dr. Patrick McGrath, a specialist in pediatric pain at Dalhousie University in Halifax.
Nevertheless, many children are afraid of needles no matter what they feel like.
"The actual physical pain is an issue, but it's not the only issue," he said.
"The fear of the needle is also very important."
For diabetics, to whom the new needle will be most actively marketed, a less painful injection will make the insulin injection and blood-monitoring regime less distressing, which will probably also make it more easily and reliably followed, said Alexis Mantell of the Canadian Diabetes Association.
More than two million Canadians have diabetes, of whom 10% are afflicted with type 1, which can require injections of insulin four or five times daily. And while those with type 2 do not usually inject insulin, they usually have to test their blood-glucose levels with a pin prick up to eight times daily.
"It'll be interesting to see what happens when they [Terumo Co.] get their testing done with it, because some of the longer-acting insulins have much larger molecules [that may be impeded in a narrow needle]," Ms. Erickson said.
After years of producing insulin in pigs, pharmaceutical firms have developed ways to synthesize the hormone, which is a cluster of amino acids. Newer versions involve molecules bunched together so that they will break away and release in the body over time, making its regulation of glucose levels more stable, Ms. Erickson said.
The company's stock rose about 3.5% after the announcement.
This story of the thinnest needle reminds me of a story one of engineering professors used to tell many years ago. A US toolmaker had a healthy competition with their Japanese counterpart. The US company one day announced that thay had created the world's tiniest drill bit - almost as thin as the human hair. The director of engineering packaged and mailed one of the new bits to their Japanese competitor.
A few weeks later a package arrived at the doorstep of the US firm - containing the drill bit that they had sent. Inspection under a microscope revealed that a hole had been neatly drilled through the center.
What would Neil Young write?
"I (barely) see the needle/
And the damage done..."
But when you drain them in a collander, won't they slip out thru the holes? Oh, thats Needles, sorry......
You are correct. The longer needles are able to be iserted further into our tissue. IF the needle is slowly withdrawn as the fluid is injected there is less tissue separation and therefore less pain results. If a person is very sensitive to pain, the placement of the needle into larger muscles with fewer nerves stems can also be a pain reducing factor.