I’ve been using an insulin pump for almost all of the last 32 years. One of the key elements of success is consistent insulin absorption across the 122-183 infusion sites we utilize, on average, every year.
I’ve been through times when poor insulin absorption due, in part, to scar tissue resisting taking up the cannula-delivered insulin. Confusing this issue, and very much related, is the body’s ebb and flow of overall insulin resistance.
This topic, however, focuses on an infusion site selection tactic that has been particularly successful for me.
Doctors will often employ palpation as a way to learn about a patient’s health. Wikipedia defines palpation.
Palpation is a method of feeling with the fingers or hands during a physical examination. The health care provider touches and feels your body to examine the size, consistency, texture, location, and tenderness of an organ or body part.
Now I know that people use a formal site rotation routine and that sounds like a great practice to me. Unfortunately, I have never been able to make that practice stick and I now primarily base my infusion site selection using my eyes and sense of touch.
I generally use my abdomen from my sides above my hip to the area around the umbilical or belly-button. I move sites every three days and usually alternate between left and right, a crude rotation scheme, I know.
I stand in front of my bathroom mirror and visually examine prospective sites in the mirror as well as looking directly. Good lighting is needed for this. I’m looking for skin without any darker discoloration or redness. Formerly used sites often show a small dot of redness and I avoid using that exact site.
Using my fingertips I press and prod the potential site and also gently squeeze the flesh between my fingers and thumb looking for sites free of fibrous or scar tissue. I also press in with my index finger and focus on whether I feel any pain, even a minor pain sensation. If I feel scar tissue or any pain, I move on to another area.
The ideal sites are flesh colored, free from any red marks, and return zero pain when pressed.
Using this method has rewarded me with consistent insulin absorption for many years. Anyone else perform a visual exam and prospective site palpation when selecting on infusion site?