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  1. #1
    Elite Popeye's Avatar
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    Z-Track Method and Air-Lock Technique


    This is not a must do...but interesting.

    The Z-track method of IM injection is used to administer a drug in a large muscle that prevents the leakage of the medication into the layers of subcutaneous tissues. It is named Z-track because after this technique, a zigzag path is responsible for sealing the drug in the muscles.

    Tissue irritation is minimized by the displacement of the skin during injection that seals the drug into the muscle tissue. A large and deep muscle is best used for this procedure. (Glutes, VG, etc.)


    • Aspirate the prescribed medication into the syringe. Draw 0.2 cc of air to create an air lock. Air-lock Technique is used frequently in intramuscular sites. Injection of the needle is done at 90 degrees so that all of the air you aspirated should be the LAST to exit the syringe, creating an air lock inside the skin (*minimizes amount of "wasted" gear*).

    • Place fingers on the skin surface and pull the overlying skin and subcutaneous tissue approximately 1 to 1 inches laterally to the side.

    • Holding the skin tight with the nondominant hand, insert the needle at a 90 degree angle at the spot where the finger was initially placed before displacing the skin laterally.

    • Aspirate for blood return with the dominant hand only (DO NOT let go of holding skin tight once needle is in). If there is no blood return on aspiration, inject the drug slowly, followed by the air. Air clears the needle of the medication (*Again, minimize "waste" of gear*).

    • Wait for 10 seconds before withdrawing the needle to allow the medication to disperse evenly.

    • Slowly remove the needle.

    • Release the skin. A zigzag needle track is created (by sliding of the tissue planes across each other) preventing the escape of medication from the muscle tissue.

    • Do not massage the site (I never do. I feel it causes unnecessary damage and/or pip) because it can force out the injected medication to the subcutaneous layers.




    *****There are differing opinions on the air-lock technique, mostly because of myths and urban legends. This technique is standard procedure for IM injects in many hospitals worldwide. It would take more than 1cc of air directly into a vein to cause any serious harm. *****



    (FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY)


    Info found on- nursingcrib, wiki, and my own thoughts
    Last edited by Popeye; 11-08-2015 at 12:49 PM.

  2. #2
    Elite JOMO's Avatar
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    Re: Z-Track Method and Air-Lock Technique

    I have just started the Air-lock tech, but have yet to try the z-track. Never pops back in my head to try it on my pin days.
    "There are only two days in the year nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow"

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    Elite Cobra Strike's Avatar
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    Re: Z-Track Method and Air-Lock Technique

    Z track method....cool but not necessary. I never use the z track method on myself or my patients.

    Air lock method I do recommend. I also believe it woild take a hell of a lot more air then one cc to do any damage

  4. #4
    Elite Popeye's Avatar
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    Re: Z-Track Method and Air-Lock Technique

    Yes, I agree CS.....Z track is interesting but certainly not necessary. It would not be a bad idea to do it, but it is more so used for darker injections that could possibly cause discoloration at the skin surface or for medications that cause irritation to other layers of skin. AAS, however, does not matter if a little bit leaks SubQ. The small amount will still absorb, just at a slightly different absorption rate.

    Also, I've read somewhere about a forensic doctor saying it would take multiple cc's (as in like 100cc!) of air directly into a vein to actually damage your heart and have life threatening complications.

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    Re: Z-Track Method and Air-Lock Technique

    That is interesting thank you, I usually poke, aspirate and inject.

  6. #6
    Senior Member SAD's Avatar
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    Re: Z-Track Method and Air-Lock Technique

    Had an RN tell me that a deadly embolism could be caused by a MINIMUM of 10cc of air rapidly introduced into a vein or artery. Still advisable to aspirate and avoid excessive air injection, but the danger is largely exaggerated. My only issue with the air lock technique is that for it to work perfectly, the needle would need to be perfectly vertical so the air bubble would be at the top of the syringe. Unless you regularly inject while laying down so the needle/syringe is straight up and down, it won't work perfectly, not to say that it won't work at all though.

    My .02
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    Elite PillarofBalance's Avatar
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    Z-Track Method and Air-Lock Technique

    Every time I have used the z track I would wind up with a nasty bruise looking thing (pooled blood under the skin) and a pin hole in the center. My massage therapist called me out on it once...
    "Overzealous dosing" -Jin

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    Re: Z-Track Method and Air-Lock Technique

    I have used z track and like it. Not sure it really makes a difference, but doesnt hurt

  9. #9
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    Re: Z-Track Method and Air-Lock Technique

    I get really bad pip when I don't massage immediately after. Am I really doing damage by doing it?

  10. #10
    Senior Member Times Roman's Avatar
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    Re: Z-Track Method and Air-Lock Technique

    This is why I like this place...

    ....freeflow of information.

    I do need to ask a question though, so please excuse my ignorance. These are great techniques, but what problem are they trying to cure?

    Here's why I'm asking. Say i pin 3ml into my glute. I pull the needle out, and once i see the blood, i just put my finger over the hole and kind of wiggle it around for awhile to seal off the injection hole. At most I do this for 15 seconds, and I NEVER use a bandaid.

    I know some of you are professionals in the medical community, so please enlighten me. I'm here to learn to, just like you.

    Cheers!
    ---Roman

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    Elite Popeye's Avatar
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    Re: Z-Track Method and Air-Lock Technique

    Originally Posted by Times Roman View Post
    This is why I like this place...

    ....freeflow of information.

    I do need to ask a question though, so please excuse my ignorance. These are great techniques, but what problem are they trying to cure?

    Here's why I'm asking. Say i pin 3ml into my glute. I pull the needle out, and once i see the blood, i just put my finger over the hole and kind of wiggle it around for awhile to seal off the injection hole. At most I do this for 15 seconds, and I NEVER use a bandaid.

    I know some of you are professionals in the medical community, so please enlighten me. I'm here to learn to, just like you.

    Cheers!
    ---Roman
    There is no profound benefit to these techniques. I just like to discuss things that aren't brought up or talked about often.

    Z-track is simply used to reduce leakage of medication through subcutaneous tissue by "sealing off" the muscle being injected. It traps ALL of the oil and allows for more stable and constant absorption rate each and every time. Again, not stating it is a huge deal as far as AAS is concerned by any means, I just find it interesting and felt like sharing.

    It also reduces skin lesions at injection site by clotting blood quicker and below the outermost layer of skin. I am not implying that a simple finger hold over a normal injection will not stop blood, but it does stop faster with decreased skin discoloration at the surface if you do the Z tech (due to blood and/or darker medication).

    As far as the air-lock tech. I basically brought it up because I use 3cc pins and if I don't add .2cc of air to push that last bit of gear out, .2cc of gear basically gets left behind in the pin. Pinning every other day, it begins to add up. I find that wasteful. This technique can also be looked at as no biggie, but figured I would at least share just to get the idea out there.

  12. #12
    Elite Popeye's Avatar
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    Re: Z-Track Method and Air-Lock Technique

    Originally Posted by username1 View Post
    I get really bad pip when I don't massage immediately after. Am I really doing damage by doing it?
    The massaging is not recommended for the Z track technique only because it basically defeats the purpose of the procedure. It forces the oil/blood around and into subq tissues, which the tech. tries to avoid.

    Personally, I don't ever massage after any pin....z-track or not. IMO, the reasoning behind the massaging doesn't make a whole lot of sense as far as pip is concerned. Mine is actually worse if I massage it because it irritates the already irritated muscle. Massaging oil in your muscle does not make it absorb better/quicker/less pip, or whatever other reason. A light, couple second massage is one thing, but I hear some ridiculous advice sometimes about this topic.

    With that said, I certainly think if massaging helps you personally I would continue to do so, and I am not suggesting that it causes damage that you should be worried about.

  13. #13
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    Re: Z-Track Method and Air-Lock Technique

    My wife (the RN) showed me this after oil actually started leaking out of one of my quads one day... it was weird but I was more worried about losing the oil than WTF was going on in my skin.... yea, I'm a tight wad! lol


    Respect and GREAT post pops!
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  14. #14
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    Re: Z-Track Method and Air-Lock Technique

    Originally Posted by Popeye50 View Post
    The massaging is not recommended for the Z track technique only because it basically defeats the purpose of the procedure. It forces the oil/blood around and into subq tissues, which the tech. tries to avoid.

    Personally, I don't ever massage after any pin....z-track or not. IMO, the reasoning behind the massaging doesn't make a whole lot of sense as far as pip is concerned. Mine is actually worse if I massage it because it irritates the already irritated muscle. Massaging oil in your muscle does not make it absorb better/quicker/less pip, or whatever other reason. A light, couple second massage is one thing, but I hear some ridiculous advice sometimes about this topic.

    With that said, I certainly think if massaging helps you personally I would continue to do so, and I am not suggesting that it causes damage that you should be worried about.
    Ive never really had issues with PIP, but also do not massage after injection. If i have a small knot after pinning because i went too quickly or because it was a larger volume than i was used to I take a small icepak i keep handy and just apply some light even pressure to the knot for about 30 secs and its gone.

  15. #15
    Senior Moderator NbleSavage's Avatar
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    Re: Z-Track Method and Air-Lock Technique

    I've tried this when pinning quads. Not much by way of noticeable difference in my experience as per PIP or gear "leakage" back through the skin. For the last two weeks I've been hitting the ventro glute and loving it. May not get back to quads anytime soon.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Times Roman's Avatar
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    Re: Z-Track Method and Air-Lock Technique

    Originally Posted by Popeye50 View Post
    There is no profound benefit to these techniques. I just like to discuss things that aren't brought up or talked about often.

    Z-track is simply used to reduce leakage of medication through subcutaneous tissue by "sealing off" the muscle being injected. It traps ALL of the oil and allows for more stable and constant absorption rate each and every time. Again, not stating it is a huge deal as far as AAS is concerned by any means, I just find it interesting and felt like sharing.

    It also reduces skin lesions at injection site by clotting blood quicker and below the outermost layer of skin. I am not implying that a simple finger hold over a normal injection will not stop blood, but it does stop faster with decreased skin discoloration at the surface if you do the Z tech (due to blood and/or darker medication).

    As far as the air-lock tech. I basically brought it up because I use 3cc pins and if I don't add .2cc of air to push that last bit of gear out, .2cc of gear basically gets left behind in the pin. Pinning every other day, it begins to add up. I find that wasteful. This technique can also be looked at as no biggie, but figured I would at least share just to get the idea out there.
    Makes sense. the last little bit in the syringe always bothered me a bit, along with the small amounts not drawn up from the ampule when i crack it open.

    I appreciate the explanation

  17. #17
    Elite ccpro's Avatar
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    Re: Z-Track Method and Air-Lock Technique

    Originally Posted by PillarofBalance View Post
    Every time I have used the z track I would wind up with a nasty bruise looking thing (pooled blood under the skin) and a pin hole in the center. My massage therapist called me out on it once...
    I knew you weren't above a "rub & tug"....massage therapist...yeah right!!!!
    Chances are if you busting a nut, you're having a good time!

  18. #18
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    Re: Z-Track Method and Air-Lock Technique

    I always worry about leakage and not getting all the oil out of syringe. Might have to try the air technique Does it leave knots in the skin or just leak out?

  19. #19
    Elite JOMO's Avatar
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    Re: Z-Track Method and Air-Lock Technique

    Originally Posted by Workhard10 View Post
    I always worry about leakage and not getting all the oil out of syringe. Might have to try the air technique Does it leave knots in the skin or just leak out?
    I have not experienced any knots at all. Just that last bit of air gets the oil out. You can def feel the air compared to the oil. Felt weird at first but, but wished I have done this since I started.
    "There are only two days in the year nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow"

  20. #20
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    I just tried the air technique. (always did z-trac)maybe its just me, but it seemed like that little bit of air in their made it incredibly hard to push. Almost like the air was compressing, instead of the oil moving. I could also hear the air when it passed through. I heard it in my head, if that makes sense.

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