Z-track injections Technique

Method of Z-track injection

When using the Z-track method, you displace the tissue before you insert the needle. Once the needle’s withdrawn, the tissue’s restored to its normal position. this traps the drug inside the muscle and prevents any leakage. The benefit: The patient gets the full dose of medication.

Watch this Method

How to do it

Follow these steps when administering a drug I.M. using the Z-track method:

  • Verify the drug order on the patient’s chart.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Reconstitute the drug as needed. Check the drug’s color,clarity, and expiration date.
  • Draw the correct amount of drug into the syringe using aseptic technique.
  • After drawing up the dose, replace the original needle with a sterile needle of the appropriate length for the patient’s size.
  • Put on gloves.
  • Confirm the patient’s identity using two identifiers.
  • Select an injection site: the ventrogluteal or deltoid site in adults, the vastus lateralis site in infants and toddlers, and the vastus lateralis or deltoid site in children.
  • Position the patient so that the muscle at the injection site relaxes.
  • Clean the site with an alcohol pad and let it thoroughly dry.
  • Use your nondominant hand to pull the skin downward or laterally to displace the tissue about 1 inch (2.54 cm).
  • With the needle at a 90-degree angle to the site, pierce the skin using a smooth, steady motion.
  • Aspirate for 5 to 10 seconds to ensure that you haven’t hit a blood vessel.


Never massage a Z-track injection site. This may cause irritation or force the drug into subcutaneous tissue.

  • Assess the site immediately after administering the injection and again 2 to 4 hours later.
  • Properly dispose of all used equipment and supplies.

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