How To Use Your Buzzy

How to Use Buzzy

To combat fear and pain, Buzzy uses the physiologic pain relief of icy numbing and tingly vibration to block transmission of sharp pain on contact. In the same way that rubbing a bumped elbow helps stop the hurt, or cool running water soothes a burn, Buzzy dulls sharp pain.

blood-draws-picturePatients care about the effects of pain, but until now there has been no effective personal pain control.  If patient flow doesn’t allow for numbing cream, Buzzy provides proven relief for IV and lab draw pain that’s twice as effective as cold spray.

Buzzy for a lab draw or IV

Place Buzzy and ice wings proximal to the lab draw or IV area. The rounded end of Buzzy should be 3-5cm proximal to the site. Turn Buzzy on and leave in place and vibrating throughout access. Immediately prep area and cannulate as usual. For a PDF of slides for more info click here.

Instruction Webinar on pediatric Needle Pain Management here.

Instruction Video showing how to use Personal Tourniquet Ready Buzzy to place an IV in the dorsum of the hand here.

Video showing a lab draw with “Goofy Buzzy” and DistrACTION cards here.


Buzzy needs to go “between the brain and the pain” to be effective.   In other words, Buzzy should be placed along the path of the nerve to best interrupt the pain signals journey from your skin to the brain.  The nerves travel in territories called “dermatomes”.  If you’ve ever seen shingles, the very abrupt outlines of the rash come because shingles affects skin by irritating the nerves in one or more dermatomes.
armDermatome pathways are fairly straightforward on the hands and arms, but get a little more sophisticated other places.  There are excellent dermatome drawings online, or we had our fantastic Respiratory Therapist Craig Barfield help us by drawing these.
arm2This shows where Buzzy would go for an intramuscular shot.  First place Buzzy right on the spot to desensitize the area.  Leave in place up to 60 seconds, then move toward the brain or spine a few centimeters and leave vibrating in place while the shot is given.

Thighs are a bit tricky, because the dermatomes curve from backside toward the knee.  Again, place on the area where the shot will go, but then slide a little toward the hip/spine rather than straight up and down.  Buzzy’s motor is at his rounded tail end away from the switch, so that rounded end should be closer to the shot.  Leave the ice pack in place for this whole process if the patient can tolerate it and doesn’t have a sensitivity to cold: ice adds about 60% of the pain relief.



injectionsFor shots in the stomach, the nerves come out from the spine and wrap around, as if someone is giving a person a hug from behind and their arms are the nerves.  This Buzzy is in great position for a poke between the bellybutton and Buzzy’s butt.

The concept for venipuncture is the same, although for an IV start or lab draw don’t put Buzzy directly on the site at all due to the possibility of vasoconstriction.  Instead, place him 2-3cm proximal (toward the person’s head) and don’t leave in place prior to drawing blood.  While Buzzy can have ice packs for lab draws, too, some people will have “cold agglutinins” that can cause platelets to clump if the ice is left in place too long.  Our study didn’t find any decrease in success due to vasoconstriction, likely because the warm venous blood is flowing TOWARD Buzzy, and if any blood were to be chilled it would flow toward the heart and away from the phlebotomy.


With Buzzy, place the supplied comfort strap or any kind of disposable or reusable tourniquet over the Buzzy.

Buzzy for fingersticks

Press Buzzy’s motor against the base of the finger where the nerve plexus is. Even for younger children the ice pack is a good idea, because the skin on the palm is thick enough not to bother them. Check out this video for more info about how to prepare Buzzy: Preparation video