The Big Blue Serter versus lil’ ol’ me

Most people don’t get excited about stabbing themselves with needles.  But if you’ve been following me lately, you know about how inexplicably euphoric I’ve been over my new spot for my CGM sensor:  my arms.  I’m also feeling good about the attention it’s gotten:  (Scott, how on earth did you do THAT?).  So, with the newfound skills I developed in making my You Can Do This video, I recorded a video of the CGM insertion as well.

It won’t win any awards, but my hope is that it is informative and useful to at least one of you.

This video is of me inserting a Medtronic Minimed CGM in my arm, with the ‘serter.  It follows similar videos that are already out there: Kim already shared her video on her arm-insertion of a Dexcom in January.  And recently, Sarah showed us how the Sugabetic puts in a Medtronic single-handedly, without that infamous blue inserter.

Of course, the techniques here aren’t “approved”, so insert-standard-disclaimer-stuff-here, blah blah blah, check with your medical professionals, yadda yadda, don’t try this at home.

Posted on June 21, 2012, in Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM), Diabetes and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. Ok how dumb is it that as I watched that, I was cringing when I knew the needle was going in, even though I knew exactly what was going on and do the same thing to MYSELF every few days .. lol And I’m not sure I could do a one handed serter removal — I’m still having trouble using TWO hands to get it removed from my tummy. I haven’t put it in my thigh yet, either – have you? I am wearing my pump in my thigh right now but haven’t tried the sensor. I wonder if I can train, I mean talk my husband into, helping me with the arm sites. At least there are a few other options for us than our tummies! 🙂


    • Not dumb at all! I’ve watched videos of CGM sensors inserted into the delicate bodies of little babies, and it makes me cringe. As far as the ‘serter remover thing, I think the key is really the angle, as I said in the video. Hold the sensor still and slide the serter along the skin, not away from the skin, until those two black O-rings are released. If it doesn’t want to come, it means you’re pulling it in the wrong direction, not that you’re not doing it hard enough.

      I suppose you could try it with an old sensor after you remove it. Put it in the serter (already triggered) and lay it flat on a table, as it would be in the skin, only without the introducer needle. If you hold the sensor still with one hand, you can see how you need to pull the serter with the other to get it to release without fear of wiggling some piece of metal around beneath your skin. Good luck!

      I’ve tried the inside of my thigh a couple of times (if the 12:00 position is on top, and the 3:00 position is towards the other leg, I put it at about 1 or 2) at the advice of a TuDiabetes member. When it works, it works, but with all of the tendons and muscles there, it usually hurt pretty bad. Sometimes I could feel it in every step. I never put it (or a pump site) anywhere else on my leg; since my pockets are always full I’m afraid of irritating it. It’s something I’d like to try someday, though.


      • I have only put my infusion site on the top of my thigh – sometimes a little off to the side, but I do find that it gets irritated if I put my phone or keys in my pocket (which isn’t often, but it does happen).


  2. Yay! Thank you for making the video!
    I’m like @ShanMerango though, I cringed when you hit the button.
    One interesting thing though caught my attention… some say the bleeding affects accuracy? That’s weird to me.. kinda made a light go off in my head. Since slow-poking mine, I haven’t had bleeders, and mine has been A LOT more accurate. Wonder if that’s why??? Hmmmm….. (I know, I know.. YDMV).
    I’ll try my next one with the serter. (And I’m sure anyone who would have came in to the room as I was watching would have thought I was stupid… I was actually trying to angle myself to get a better view! smh)


    • As glucose flows from the blood vessel through the interstitial fluid, it tends to go all over the place and also takes time, hence the time-delay and the sometimes inaccuracies in the CGM readings. The closer it is to the actual blood vessel, the closer the interstitial glucose is to the source, and hence the more accurate it is. When you’ve got a bleeder, the source of the blood heals, but it still indicates that you’re close, so the reading has less variance. That’s how I understand it anyway. But of course, I’m not really a doctor — I just play one on the internet.


  3. My Husband will actually getting a dexcom by the end of this month, so we’ll definately have to look at these options.


    • Make sure you take a look at Kim’s video (linked above) for the Dex insertion. From what I can tell, it has more pieces, but many people find it easier. (With an arm-insertion, it’s also better with the needle pointed downward, towards the elbow). But I suggest doing it the normal, “approved” way before venturing into alternate sites. Good luck to him!


  4. Thanks. I’m stoked about a little more peace of mind with his lows.


  5. Thanks for making this video (and sharing!) I’m with Shannon above, I also cringed some and I do it every week as well! I struggle getting the blue inserter thing off with two hands so I have no idea how you do it with one. You do make it look pretty easy so one of these days I might build up enough strength to give it a try (I still have to numb my tummy to insert the sensor there)


    • Glad to help — and I’ve learned a few more tricks since making the video. First, the best place to grab the sensor sometimes is not by the shark-fin at the end of the insertion needle, but by the two little tabs that are closer to the pointier part of the needle. For removing the ‘serter, grabbing it here gives you a bit more leverage to hold the sensor in place, and removing the needle by grabbing this part with the thumb and index finger gives a bit better leverage and more stability than grabbing the fin. It also helps to pull it out in the right direction.

      Any other questions, let me know!


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