Do you ever get pissed off with your infusion site?!

Sometimes it seems that the insulin that is being pumped is just not doing it’s job. I find that it is often due to poor absorption at the site of infusion. After changing to a new site things usually get better. Note that I never go beyond 3 days plus a few hours and sometimes I find that I don’t even get one day with the same site. I’m using Medtronic MIO 6mm canula sets and am considering switching to a different type. Any suggestions? Does it ever help to rub or massage the site to promote better absorption? Or is that counterproductive?


The most likely reason for poor insulin absorption, especially after enjoying good-quality and consistent absorption for years, is over-used sites. Even limiting infusion sites to three days still causes injury to the tissue. One of the factors that determines the extent of that injury is the amount of insulin that you infuse. Much less tissue damage occurs at 30 units per day than at 60 units per day.

If I were you, I would try to identify and experiment with some locations that you’ve never used before. This can really help. Once, when I just could not get good blood sugar performance from my abdomen, I switched to above my hips but around toward my back. I gave my abdomen a rest for about a year and even underwent a course of physical therapy to rehabilitate my abdominal tissue.

Changing up infusion sets is another great tactic to experiment with but I would not favor it over identifying a brand new location. Since you’re using a 6mm 90-degree soft cannula infusion set, experiment with shorter and longer 90-degree cannulas, angled sets, and steel cannulas. Again, I would not simply change infusion sets while using the same real estate. I currently use the Med-T angled Silhouette 13 mm cannula set.

This is a worthwhile exercise if you want to protect your long-term use of an insulin pump. Thanks for the reminder, I need to re-examine my infusion habits again. I’ve been pumping since 1987 and have some tired tissue, too. Good luck! Please report back if you find something that works.

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I always found that to be a problem with MT pumps. There are a number of issues with the device related to that. After I switched to Omnipod, I found that they send audible alarms immediately and pretty reliably if infusion is interrupted.

Not sure what the MIO sets are, but I would try a different one. Read the descriptions (comparison chart) and maybe even talk to a Medtronic trainer – my initial one when I first got a pump at diagnosis 12+ years ago walked me through the different options MT offered then and explained why she thought each one might be good/not so good for me. There is a reason they offer options. Hope you find another one that works better for you!

For what it’s worth, I have always used the 9mm Quick-set with next to no issues, and regularly keep each one in for about a week. (Not recommending it, but just to say that this set holds up pretty well.)

I get frustrated with mine all the time lol. I have to be really careful which locations I put it because I have a lot of areas on my abdomen that are pretty dead from years and years of use. Now I put my CGM in the dead areas and my pump in areas I never used much, which there is still quite a bit on my abdomen.

If you are not real skinny, you may consider trying 9mm (or whatever the longer cannula length is) sets. I have always used the longer cannulas even when I was much more fit when I was younger.

I love quickset. it comes in 6 mm and 9 mm lengths. I use the 9mm and rarely have this issue.

I am a Medtronic ambassador. My opinions are my own. They did not pay me to say nice things. OK, they sent me a shirt and a cup but even I am more expensive than that.

I used the silhouette ones from Medtronic. I find that inserting them on an angle really helps with absorption. Since they go in on an angle they don’t get clogged from hitting muscle. They also don’t pull out so easily. And you can see them and see that they are in. I always insert them manually.
I use nearly the exact same type for my tandem pump.
I started using my hips and the sides of my butt just so I can rest my belly. I get good results now. After years of poor absorption.