Careers: Nursing/Needle Gauges



I have a question that you may be able to answer.  Do you know why the gauge of a syringe needle is smaller in diameter (the opening at the end) as the gauge number becomes bigger?  For example a needle with a 13 gauge diameter is larger than the diameter of a 24 gauge needle.  

I thank you for your reply.

Hi Kenneth,

Thanks for your interesting question :-)

Here is a link to answer this:

It all goes back to making "wire", where the more times the "pull" of the wire went through the mold, the finer the wire.  i.e.  the first pull was #1 the 2nd (finer) was #2, etc.

The wire production leads to the inverse relationship between size and gauge (small gauge - 14 = big needle, large gauge - 25 = small needle). A heated rod is pulled through a slightly smaller hole and can be repeated through smaller holes until the desired size. The first size of wire pulled through would be 1, then 2, then 3, which would correspond to the wire gauge. Therefore, the higher the number, the smaller the wire.

Isn't that a hoot?

best regards,

Careers: Nursing

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Irma G., RN, CNOR(e), DABFN, fellow ACFEI


I am an experienced forensic nurse examiner and have done cases relating to domestic violence, sexual assault and elder abuse in the state of California. I've consulted nationally and internationally, for the Undersecretary of Health (Veterans Administration) and for the region of Novgorod, Russia (300,000 people)in a forensic capacity. I can answer question having to do with forensic nursing, operating room nursing (scrub & circulate), intensive care and aeromedical flight nursing. I also have vast military nursing experience in peace time and war time and have over 18 years in VA Hospital experience. I have lectured on forensic awareness, domestic violence and sexual assault. I have experience as a nurse manager and preceptor. I have developed new grad programs for ICU and managed them successfully. I have been a patient advocate & consultant, answering questions in plain English, to unravel and gap the patient-doctor relationship and the mystery of the medical world "lingo".


forensic nursing, expert witness, forensic nurse examiner, operating room, intensive care, aeromedical flight nursing (fixed wing), military nursing, elder abuse, veteran hospital nursing

IAFN (International Association of Forensic Nursing), ACFEI, AORN (Association of Operating Room Nurses), Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society of Nursing,CHIA (California Homicide Investigators Association)

please see and click on "spotlight" and "pearls"

Registered Nurse licensed in Arizona & California. ADN - Phoenix College of Nursing. BSN - University of Phoenix. CNOR(e) - Certified Nationally - Operating Room. DABFN - Diplomate, American Board of Forensic Nursing. fellow, ACFEI - American College of Forensic Examiners Institute.

©2016 All rights reserved.