Problems with the G5

For the second time I have had a problem inserting the sensor with the G5. I follow the steps and hear all the clicks, but the sensor pulls out with the plunger.

Has this happened to anybody else? I am not a happy camper.

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I think the G5 is hard to insert for many reasons.

That happened to me. I realized I didn’t hold the plunger down when I pulled up from under the lip with my fingers. It was early morning and I must have pulled it out like a needle.

I even have problems getting the paper off so the adhesive is fully exposed. I’ve actually ruined two sensor trying. Not going to the G6 (if I can help it) but the insertion would be so much easier.


I don’t think I did what you did, but I must have done something odd and just didn’t notice it. Did Dexcom send you replacements? Why don’t you want to use the G6?

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This has never happened to me, but I hold the sensor firmly against my skin while pinching the grooved tabs when I remove the plunger. Once the needle has been retracted by lifting the ring at the base of the plunger, by pinching the grooved tabs on each side of the sensor, the plunger easily can be rocked off of the sensor while the sensor remains in position. The sensor should never be “tugged” from the skin while removing the plunger.


I think the pinching/squeezing on the inserter is the key step to get the inserter portion to come off, while sensor stays on skin.

Check dexcom website or search you tube for videos to focus on that step.


Yes, that is what I think I do. Most of the time it works just fine. I have a benign tremor in my hands, and I am wondering if that is interfering with the removal.


I do that, so that is why I am confused. I always pinch the tabs.

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Do you feel the sides push in? Maybe try a little more squeeze/wiggle on removable part, and wiggle more until it releases the removable part.
I have had multiple surgeries on hands for trigger fingers and carpel tunnel, so sometimes have to change my grip and wiggle longer until I feel it release.


Have too many G5 supplies to go to G6. Other than insertion, I like the G5.

The grooved tabs (release tabs) are not easy to pinch/squeeze but that is what releases plunger from sensor. When you are pinching the tabs, it appears you are lifting the plunger and since it is still attached to the sensor the sensor is coming off with the plunger. When I remove the plunger, while pinching the tabs, I push the plunger and sensor down into my skin and rock the plunger forward out of the sensor. If I rock the plunger forward while pinching the tabs and the back of the sensor starts to lift off the skin, even a little, I know that I have not pinched the tabs hard enough. Then just pinch a little harder and the plunger rocks right out of the sensor.

Terry is right, I use the term plunger loosely to refer to the entire apparatus which includes the plunger, applicator barrel and collar.

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I don’t use the G5 system but the G4 system I do use has the same sensor applicator as the G5. I think it would help this discussion to use the sub-assemply part terms published by Dexcom for the sensor applicator assembly. Here’s a picture.

If I understand @Marilyn6 correctly, the problem is that the sensor failed to remain below the skin when she retracted the introducer needle. This could, of course, arise from a defective part but user error may have played a role.

It’s important that the plunger be fully depressed and a moment or two elapses before the collar is pulled up to retract the introducer needle. When the plunger is depressed, it’s good habit to not allow your fingers to be under the collar. If your fingers are positioned under the collar when pushing down with the thumb on the plunger, it is possible to pull up on the collar before the plunger deploys the sensor.

Some have commented on the release tabs but those tabs are only needed to disconnect the sensor applicator from the sensor pod and have nothing to do with the failure to deploy the sensor.

Here’s a Dexcom video of the G5 sensor insertion.

Notice where the fingers are positioned in the snapshot below taken from the Dexcom video. They are above the collar, not below. It’s so easy to place your fingers under the collar and naturally use them to retract the introducer needle in one smooth action. Unfortunately this enables a mistiming of actions and permits pulling up on the collar before the plunger is fully deployed.

Screen Shot 2019-12-15 at 6.17.44 AM


@Marilyn6 - Initially I had trouble getting the Dexcom inserter assembly detached from the G4/G5 sensors, but watched some YouTube videos of others who suggested letting gravity + a wall, doorframe or counter do the work.

My fingers are badly atrophied, and I find it’s easier to remove the plastic locking key prior to sticking assembly on my arm (I use upper arms in locations with more “meat”).

I don’t suggest placing the sensor where there’s very little fat (such as your forearms). I prefer the upper arm(s) for Dexcom as my abdomen is reserved for rotating pump sites.


This is what I do too.

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Great video Terry. I watched it through the insertion and that’s exactly how I do it. To not tempt fate, I’ll leave it at that :slight_smile:

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I definitely feel the tabs push in.

Oh good grief, even though I have watched this video before, looking at the unit I discarded I can see that the collar wasn’t pulled back up. That explains it.

I was severely depressed yesterday, sleep deprived and my tremor was acting up, I should have just waited to try attaching a new sensor. I feel much better today so attaching the sensor shouldn’t be a problem.

Thanks for the video Terry. It helped to watch it again.

I am glad that the G6 will be easier to attach. I just hope it works better for me than the G5 does. I can’t depend on the readings of the G5 to be accurate probably 25% to 35% of the time. I have turned off the alerts at night after being woken up for a 55 low and finger testing at a perfect 80 too many times. I need some uninterrupted sleep.


Thanks everybody. You are a great group of people. Please see my reply to Terry.


Thanks for the video Jim. I will probably try placing the G6 on my arm, but not the G5 unless I have my husband help me. With my tremor it is hard enough for me to put on my stomach. My mom had this tremor and it got much worse as she aged. I have passed it on to my son. So sorry to hear about your hands.


Ouch, Ouch, Ouch!!! - Just even reading that sounds extremely painful. Happy to hear you appear to have it all sorted out now. Next step is to figure out how to get you accurate readings 98%+ of the time. Everybody always wants and expects instant perfect results from their Dexcom. I truly believe it takes a solid 3 months to learn how to use it properly and get stable, reliable results. For you a little longer, due to the other medical distractions you have had to deal with recently.

Just hang in there - You will get good results soon and then will be able to rely on your CGM


This didn’t register with me when I first read it. @CJ114’s comment brought into focus what this likely meant to you. When the collar is in the down position, that means that the needle was in your skin/tissue when you struggled to release it from the sensor pod. That must have hurt!

This is what I should have responded to. Sorry, my problem-solving man-mode primary focus has gotten me into more relationship trouble than I care to admit.

Glad to read that you’re feeling better today It’s too bad that a just universe can not intervene and relieve you of your diabetes burden when life gets that hard. It’s not fair and diabetes doesn’t care. Take care.