What is aspiration? To aspirate is to withdraw fluid with a syringe. More specifically, after inserting the needle, pulling back on the plunger of the syringe for a few seconds to see if the needle is in a blood vessel. Rarely, this will be the case and a bit of blood will fill the syringe. If this happens the needle should be removed, replaced with a new one, and another injection site should be used. And yes, if there is a little blood in your syringe, it is ok to inject it along with your steroid once you have found a different spot, it’s your own blood isn’t it? When aspirating, nothing should come back into the syringe if you are in the right spot.
Pulling back on the plunger will create a vacuum in your syringe. The oil cannot expand to fill that space, but any air bubbles in your syringe will. You may notice the tiny bubbles getting bigger and bigger as you pull back. They will return to normal size as you release the plunger. If the air bubbles do not disappear upon releasing the plunger, you have an air leak most likely caused by the needle not being screwed onto the syringe tightly enough, although on very rare occasions, the syringe or needle itself can be defective. Either way, purge the air bubbles out, put a new needle on and try it again.
Do I really need to aspirate? Those who inject without aspirating are taking unnecessary chances. Sweating, nausea, dizziness, severe coughing, breathing difficulties, anaphylactic shock, coma or death can all result from not aspirating. Most of the time, steroid users experience dizziness and coughing fits when they inject into a blood vessel. But you need to be aware of the dangers of neglecting this simple technique that should take about 3-5 seconds of your time.