Table of Contents

The Difference Between Scalp Vein Set And Intravenous (IV) Catheter

scalp vein set


Scalp vein set

Scalp vein set, also known as winged infusion set or winged needle, has the primary function of puncturing a vein located in the patient’s dorsum of the hand, wrist, or scalp. It serves as a route for administering various injections and extracting blood for laboratory examinations. Frequently, the medical staff uses it for hard-to-find or small-diameter veins, very common among infants and children. This device consists of

(1) two bendable appendages, also known as “wings,” that secure the device and serve as a structure for gripping,

(2) a hypodermic needle with stainless steel bevel that pricks the vein,

(3) a protective sheath of the needle,

(4) a transparent and flexible extension tube that links the scalp vein set with another device, such as a syringe or tubing of an infusion set, and

(5) a female Luer or slip lock blocked by a cap or multi-activated valve needle-free connector.1,2       

Scalp vein set

IV catheter

The intravenous (IV) catheter consists of a small plastic tube inserted into a patient’s vein. It serves as a route for administering continuous medication, fluids, or blood. The catheter becomes an integral part of the intravenous line. The doctors use this route to give drugs directly into the patient’s bloodstream. This device consists mainly of a small plastic tube and a needle removed upon inserting the catheter.3

IV catheter


Scalp vein set

The health workers sterilize and clean the selected insertion site by rubbing a cotton ball soaked with alcohol or an antiseptic wipe over the area. Medical staff resorts to using a tourniquet if the chosen vein is not visible. Inserting the needle into the selected vein follows. Subsequently, a medical worker can connect a device with the scalp vein set, such as a syringe or infusion set.4  

IV catheter

The health worker selects the insertion site. A rubber tourniquet needs to be used if the chosen vein is not so visible, or to make the targeted vein more distinct, followed by the insertion of the catheter. The medical staff withdraws the needle after a successful venous puncture, followed by stabilizing the catheter with medical tapes. The health worker ends the process by injecting heparin into the catheter and closing the lid.3


Scalp vein set

Single-wing Luer lockThe single-wing provides less stable positioning of the catheter. Medical workers use it for a shorter time, such as blood extraction and one-time blood sampling.

Single-wing Luer slip. The single-wing scalp vein set positions the catheter with lesser stability than the dual-wing. Medical workers resort to it for repetitive procedures and short-term use, such as blood extraction and one-time injection of a small volume of drugs or blood derivatives.1,2

The single-wing scalp vein set can be connected with an IV tubing to infuse medication into the patient’s veins. The IV set with a single-wing scalp vein set is mostly used in China and Asia.

Butterfly-wing Luer lock. The dual-wing provides secure and stable positioning of the catheter. The Luer lock ensures the non-occurrence of accidental detachment.1

Butterfly-wing Luer slip. The dual-wing secures and stabilizes the insertion of the catheter. The Luer slip provides ease in detaching the whole scalp vein set.1

IV catheter

Peripheral IV catheter. When a medical worker inserts a catheter into the patient’s arm or leg, it is called a peripheral IV catheter.3 The length of these catheters varies from 2.5 to 7.0 cm, with gauges from 14 to 26. Medical staff uses them for a short duration: 72-96 hours.5   

Midline IV catheter. Some patients require two to four weeks of intravenous medications. In these situations, medical workers cannot use the peripheral intravenous catheter. Instead, medical experts recommend the midline peripheral catheter. The medical staff inserts the catheter inside the upper arm in this setup. He pushes it until the end reaches the axillary region (armpit). These catheters, with length from three to ten inches, are longer than the peripheral IV catheters.5

Central IV catheter. When a medical staff inserts the catheter into the patient’s jugular or subclavian vein, it is called a central IV catheter.3  More frequently, medical experts introduce this type of catheter via the chest. They push it until the tip of the catheter reaches the superior vena cava. They also use the internal jugular vein (located in the neck) and the femoral vein in the groin area.5 More information


Scalp vein set

  • Available in different types, needle sizes, and closures, allowing more choices of veins.1,8
  • Equipped with a very sharp needle, allowing and facilitating clean and painless puncturing of the vein.1,8

IV catheter


Scalp vein set

  • Easily blocked by a blood clot.6
  • The sharp tip could easily puncture the blood vessel wall and cause bleeding.6
  • The scalp vein set can only stay for two to four hours inside the lumen of the blood vessel, thus requiring more frequent vein punctures, possibly causing more damages to the blood vessel wall and more pain to the patients.6  

IV catheter

  • Venous thrombosis and thrombophlebitis may occur because the catheter stays longer in the lumen of the veins.3
  • The tube needs a heparin seal every after infusion. It adds work to the medical staff.9
  • IV catheter costs more compared with the scalp vein set.10
  • IV catheter requires thick and straight veins as an insertion site. It needs veins with rich blood flow.12   

Summary of differences between the scalp vein set and the IV catheter

Points of DifferencesScalp Vein SetIV Catheter
Site of insertionVeins with smaller diameters Veins with a larger diameter, thick and straight, with rich blood flow
Allowable time as an indwelling catheter2-4 hours72 hours or more
Main useShort-term infusionLong-term infusion
Sealing with heparinNoYes
Serious complicationsNoneThrombophlebitis, venous thrombosis
Frequency of injury to the blood vessel wallHigherNone
Nature of the catheterHi-grade stainless steelSmall plastic tube
Total expenditureLesserHigher
The workload of medical staffIncreasedReduced

Related Article

Tag: butterfly needle Tag: Infusion set Tag: scalp vein set uses Tag: winged needles Tag: scalp vein set Tag: Intravenous needle Tag: scalp vein Tag: SCALP VEIN SETS Tag: syringes Tag: winged needle Tag: butterfly cannula Tag: IV catheter


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Let's Have A Chat

Get our catalogue or lastest news and updated products!