What are the guidelines for sensor placement?

I’m getting my Dexcom in a few days, and unfortunately, there are no trainers in my area, so I’m on my own in that regard. Lots of great advice here, though!

I’m curious as to where people place the sensor. I know that officially, it needs to go on the abdomen. I have an Omnipod, and I gotta say, the abdomen has never been a great spot for pod placements for me (it gets in the way). I know that people wear the Dexcom sensor in a lot of “unofficial” places. How do you decide? Can it go anywhere that there’s a little fat, like the omnipod? Or is it more complicated than that?

I have been using the Dexcom for about 2 months now, and except for the first two sensors, I use the “unoffical” location of the back of my arm. My abdomen is never a good spot for sensors or infusion sites with twin 3 year olds! Some times it can be tricky getting the sensor on or more accurately, getting the inserter off. Something that has worked for me is taking off the plastic tab at the base, the one to help seat the battery/transmitter in the sensor and taking off the “safety” for the plunger before I place it on my arm. Depending on how far up the back of my arm I go, I can most of the time pull the grey “funnel” up and remove it from the sensor one handed. Inserting the battery is pretty straight forward. I usually wait the two hours before my sensor is active before having fun applying flexifix for additional adhesion (read longer wear times).

Enjoy and good luck

When the trainers set me up they had me use the sides of my stomach (almost directly down from the armpit, anywhere between the bottom of the ribs and the hip). This has worked really well for me. The Dex also has a much smaller profile than the OPod so you may find it less in the way. I’ve heard of people also using the sensors on their backsides and I think I once heard of someone using their thigh.

Hello Barbra. I have had the best response on the front sides of my upper arm. I don’t knock if off on door jambs like I do on the backside of my arm. Just me, I’m sure. I’m always taking the corners at mach 10. I also wear the Omnipod and I generally leave the abdomen for that, arms for the Dex. I am very lucky with the sticky aspect and can usually wear my Dex for 14 to 17 days. YMMV. You are right about putting it anywhere there’s a little fat. Most places will do. It’s just a matter of trying them out. You can try taping some used sensors to various parts of your body to test out whether or not that’s a place that you keep knocking around. That way you don’t waste a sensor while you do a “dry run”. Then if the site is in a safe zone, try it for real.

The sensor does not like to be slept on. I am a side sleeper and therefore like the abdomen 2 inches away from the navel. Back sleepers get better results with their sides and arms.

Uh oh. I’m an “all over the place” sleeper - back, sides, stomach. Anyone else out there like that? Where do you put your sensor?

The waist works well for women. I went looking for my waist and could not find any.

Putting the sensor into the waist ‘cavity’ protects the sensor from pressure. This might be your best bet.

I usually sleep on my sides and have found that the receiver needs to be closer when I do this but my numbers have been fine even when sleeping on the sensor. I think I’m the exception but you won’t know until you try it.

I second Helmut. What waist?

I alternate between the left and right sides of my abdomen, just forward of the area below the arm pit. That way when I sleep on my front, the sensor is slightly up my side and when I sleep on my side, the sensor is slightly up my front. Probably not perfect, but it works for me. If I do roll on the sensor during the night, it occasionally disrupts communications to the receiver. I have the out of range alert set to vibrate and beep, so it wakes me up and I change positions.

I wear my pods between my sensor and my naval. I haven’t had any problem having the edge of the adhesive for the pod close to (but not touching, definitely not overlapping) the adhesive for the sensor. The biggest difference I notice is I usually have to use IV3000 to hitch down the sensor after a few days because sensors are rated for 7 days instead of 3 days for pods. With the current sensor, I cut a “U” shape out of the long edge of the IV3000 (with the long side of the “U” going the same way as the long side of the IV3000 patch) and only hitched down the top and sides of the sensor adhesive. The spray from the shower is what causes me the most problems with adhesion and it really doesn’t affect the section under the sensor.

The sensors are much smaller than a pod; less that 1/4 the height and only about 1/4 the length and width. With my guy shirts, I sometimes get a bump where the pod is. I never see a bump for the Dexcom sensor unless I wear a skin-tight T-shirt (and the way I am built, I shouldn’t be wearing them!).

I find the sensors somewhat more difficult to change than pods, but now that I have been doing it for 7 months it is almost second nature. I wish that the sensors had automatic insertion of the wire; the pod’s automatic canula insertion has spoiled me. Two times in a row, I must have hit a nerve during insertion, and it hurt like crazy. Knock on wood, that hasn’t happened in months.

When I first started, I kept the instruction manual in front of me and followed the instructions step by step. The Dexcom receiver (unlike the OmniPod PDM) doesn’t walk you though the change process. Like Lucky Dad, I remove the “safety” before I place the sensor on my body. It seemed awkward to wait, and I was afraid I would loosen the sensor with the twisting and tugging to get it off.

I hope you enjoy your Dexcom as much as I do,


That spot works really well for me too, sometime going around to the back edge, always between the rib and the beltline. I can’t wear it at or below the beltline. Because I sleep on my left side, I have been keeping it on the right side and moving it around just enough to give the prior site a chance to breathe.