Health Information and Tools > Patient Care Handouts >  Learning About Preventing Lipohypertrophy

Main Content

Learning About Preventing Lipohypertrophy

Areas of the body where insulin can be given

What is lipohypertrophy?

Lipohypertrophy is fat tissue that builds up if you give your insulin shot in the same spot many times over time. The spot may start to feel firmer than the skin around it. This problem can lead to insulin not being absorbed at the same rate every time. This can cause high or low blood sugars.

The buildup of fat tissue can happen anywhere that insulin is given. It's common in the belly. That is the most common area for insulin shots. But it also can happen in the buttocks and the top outer part of the thighs and arms.

You may be able to prevent the buildup of fat by not injecting insulin in the same spot many times. You can do this by rotating where you inject insulin.

If you already have this problem, your doctor may suggest that you not inject insulin in the area of fat buildup for a few months.

How do you rotate spots for your insulin shots?

There are four areas of the body where you can give the insulin shot. You can use a different area for different times of the day. Areas include:

  • The belly, but at least 5 centimetres from the belly button.
  • The top outer area of the thighs.
  • The upper outer area of the arms.
  • The buttocks.

If you give your insulin in the same area at the same time of day, it will help you predict how the insulin will work for you. For example, if you inject into your thigh at every lunch, you will know more about how lunchtime insulin works for you.

Slightly change the spot within the injection area every time you inject insulin. Here is an example of rotating the spots where you give yourself your insulin shots. Follow this pattern for the rest of the week.

  • At noon on Monday, give your shot above your belly button.
  • For Monday dinner, give your shot into a spot on your thigh.
  • On Tuesday at noon, give your shot below your belly button.
  • For Tuesday dinner, give your shot into a slightly different spot on your thigh.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.