A butterfly needle also called a “winged” needle or “scalpel needle,” is a special device designed for venipuncture, i.e. for penetrating a small, deep vein or arterial for either phlebotomy or intravenous injection. This device works by inserting the curved portion of the needle directly into the vein through an incision made in the skin.
How to take blood with a butterfly needle
This procedure is often used to provide immediate treatment to an injured area (as when administering first aid) or to examine the flow rate of a blood vessel. Butterfly needles are a relatively new device to the medical field. They were originally invented by Thomas Coleman in 1882. He was working as a surgeon at a hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.
The wound he was treating with a butterfly needle was too small and the vein was too large for the traditional scalpel used then, so he devised the device to puncture both the vein and the artery. This allowed him to deliver the needed treatment quickly and effectively. It is not clear if other doctors, such as Thomas Burke, were using a butterfly needle before Coleman.
Butterfly needles have their own risks and complications that may be unique to each individual use. Some people are allergic to the material used in making these needles. Butterfly needles are often used for phlebotomies, which involve injecting a drug into the vein to remove the infected blood.