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Subcutaneous Fat in Women May Interfere with Injections

With obesity, an inadequate dose of medication may be injected into gluteal muscle

MONDAY, Nov. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Subcutaneous fat may prevent obese patients, particularly women, from getting the correct dose of medication administered by an intramuscular injection, researchers reported Monday at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago.

Victoria O. Chan, M.B., of the Adelaide and Meath Hospital in Dublin, Ireland, and colleagues studied 50 patients who received injections in the buttocks prior to a scheduled CT scan of the abdomen or pelvis. The patients ranged in age from 21 to 87 and about half were female. A small bubble was used to gauge the depth of injection on CT scan.

The researchers found that only 25% of the patients actually received an intramuscular injection. Most of the patients received a subcutaneous injection, and those injections were more common in women with an average fat thickness of more than 2 cm (2.5 - 8.7 cm), and an average muscle thickness of less than 3 cm (0 - 5.2 cm).

By contrast, all those who got an intramuscular injections were men, with an average fat thickness of less than 2 cm (0.89 - 1.8 cm), and an average muscle thickness of more than 3 cm (1.83 - 5.7 cm).

"The efficacy of intramuscular injections is related to gender as well as subcutaneous fat and muscle thickness," the authors write.

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