The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







A syringe consists of a plunger fitted to a tube with a small opening on one end used either to inject or suck out a liquid. The word comes from the Greek syrinx, which means "tube".

Needle syringes

Syringes are used in conjunction with hypodermic needles to inject liquid medications into body tissues; the process of giving medication into the body with a syringe and needle is called an injection. Syringes can also be used to suck out some liquid from a cavity.

Syringes have a hollow plastic or glass tube (barrel) with a plunger inside. The barrel of the syringe usually has graduated marks indicating the volume of fluid in the syringe. Pressing on the plunger forces the drug through the needle into the body.

Modern syringes are disposable and made from plastic because it is cheaper and eliminates the risk of spreading blood-borne diseases.

Rectal and vaginal syringes

For the administration of enemas or douches, there exist bulb syringes where a bulb is fitted with a nozzle, liquid is pumped into it, the nozzle is inserted into the rectum or vagina and the bulb is pressed upon for injection. There also exist fountain syringes where the liquid is in a bag or can and goes to the nozzle via a pipe. In earlier times, clyster syringes were used for that purpose.

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Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04