What is the Risk of Disease Transmission when Sharing a Syringe but Switching Needle?

I just recently had 1 syringe of juvederm ultra plus injected into my upper lip for fullness by an RN. Upon using the first syringe she said that I really needed another syringe worth to achieve the desired effect. My best friend came with me and she only used half of her syringe. The Lady who did the injections said I could use the remainder of her syringe but she would switch the needles. Is there a high risk of blood related transmitted diseases by doing this.? It was a very poor decision.

Doctor Answers 13

Lip Augmentation

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  There is no “discount” worth risking transmission of disease.  To be honest, the primary concerns in reusing needles / syringes / anything that isn’t properly sterilized are Hepatitis C and HIV.  Neither of which have a cure.  Regardless of the risk of reusing someone else’s syringe, why take the chance?     

Hope this helps.


San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Sharing a Syringe

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Sharing a syringe (even with changing the needle) is never recommended. Even if the risk of transmitting diseases is small, the risk is still present and not worth it. As other physicians have mentioned, there are half syringes that can be purchased as opposed to using the same syringe for two different people. This is not a safe practice whatsoever.

Sharing Lip Augmentation

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The answer is absolutely NEVER share syringes even if the needle is changed.  This is a cosmetic procedure in which you are trying to improve your appearance, why would you risk anything to cause a major problem to arise.  The nurse who suggested this to you has medical ethics that should be questioned and in many physicians opinion reported.  Your safety and health ALWAYS comes first.

Lisa Kates, MD
Annapolis Dermatologist

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What is the Risk of Disease Transmission when Sharing a Syringe but Switching Needle?

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This is a clear violation of all medical code and ethics as well as basic disease transmission guidelines.  This should never, ever be done period. I'm sure no experienced MD would have done this.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Syringe sharing is a bad idea

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Sharing a syringe, even if you change the needle, is a terrible idea. The fact that the nurse who did the procedure suggested it, is a very scary scenario. Make sure to talk to your friend and get yourself checked.

Gary Goldenberg, MD
New York Dermatologist

Never share a syringe with someone else

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I agree with all of the other physicians who answered this question, never share a syringe with another person, even if the needle is changed.  Although the risk of disease transmission is low when you know the other person is healthy, it's not worth taking the chance.  I would like to clarify a comment by Dr. Schulman.  All of the major filler manufacturers, Juvederm, Restylane and Radiesse, do make "half size" syringes.  It is also common for physicians to sterially split syringes using a luer lock connector.  There is therefore no reason someone should need to share a syringe.  In my Laguna Niguel Dermatology practice, when patients only need or desire a small amount of product, they can purchase a smaller syringe which is more cost effective for them.

Lorrie Klein, MD
Laguna Niguel Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 217 reviews

Sharing a Syringe of Juvederm

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It is a bad idea to share syringes or needles, even with your best friend. At least you know this person who hopefully will share any known health problems. Under the circumstances  there probably is not a high risk of transmission of disease.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Sharing same syringe is a no no

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Firstly, Sharing the same syringe is a definite "no no". Blood can be aspirated back into the product and in some areas we purposely pull back to be sure that we are not in a vessel. Also, why would you have a nurse inject you when you can have someone with a full medical education and knowledge of anatomy do this. Does this person realize the blood can be transmitted into the material. Secondly, In practices where we do a lot of this we have a good idea of what you will need prior to injection, especially with lips. We can split, or already have split ,m syringes for this purpose but they are split sterilly before use. 

Jo Herzog, MD
Birmingham Dermatologist
4.8 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Sharing syringes, even with a new needle, places you at risk.

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Sharing a syringe, even when using a new needle, is a direct violation of standard precautions. I agree that you should report the RN to the state medical board. If she is engaging in this type of reckless and risky behavior, it is likely that she is also taking shortcuts in other areas as well.  I see this in NYC all the time....advertised prices for 1/2 syringes, knowing that there is no such thing as a 1/2 syringe and clearly you are getting someone elses leftovers.  This activity needs to stop and that can only happen when the perpetrators are reported.

Sharing syringes

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This is a BAD idea.  There is a clear risk of transmission of disease from one patient to another and this type of activity should never happen!!!

Ted Brezel, MD
Long Island Dermatologic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.