September 3, 1999
Blood Tests and Insulin Injections
Question from Dublin, Ireland:
Is there any way of avoiding loss of fatty tissue around the insulin injection area? Are there areas of the body where this condition is less likely to occur? My nephew is 5 years old and has started to develop high loss of tissue on his upper legs. He has type 1 insulin dependent diabetes. I have seen your answer to the question from the person in Orlando, Florida, but unfortunately you did not elaborate on the longer term affects of this condition or if it can be avoided.
Lipoatrophy used to more commonly seen before the purified insulins and human insulins became available. We still see lipoatrophy occasionally , even with human insulin. You can even have lipoatrophy in areas away from the actual shot locations.
As far as I know, there is nothing that can be done. There was a case report in Diabetes Care a few years ago which stated that using a jet injector helped, but I haven’t heard more about this. We used to inject just around the atrophied areas to try to build up the area (hypertrophy), but this technique did not always work.
I usually recommend that people use their buttocks for their shots, where the lipoatrophy may not be as much of a problem cosmetically.