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Vein Illumination Technology Makes Hard Sticks a Thing of the Past
Posted by Kristal Roberts

Many nurses have struggled to find a patient’s vein at one point or another.

Perhaps the vein was really small, the patient was very jittery, you may have a “difficult stick” or you may be a new nurse getting the hang of things.

Well vein finders or vein illuminators are a fairly new piece of technology taking the guess work out of taking the perfect shot to draw blood.

Vein finders work by using infrared technology to illuminate flesh and reveal the veins, which appear as darker bands because they absorb more of the infrared light.

Here’s how it works.


These devices are typically handheld but can also be used in conjunction with a hands-free tool.  They project an image of the illuminated area directly onto the patient’s skin.

So if a nurse needed to find a vein in her patient’s arm, vein illuminators are generally hovered over the targeted area and the veins being illuminated are simultaneously projected as an image on the surface of the patient’s skin, giving the healthcare provider the perfect road map to point of entry for a needle.

VeinViewer, a vein illumination product, claims to increase first stick success by up to 100 percent and decrease unnecessary PICC lines by over 30 percent. They have a variation of models suited for different areas of the body, according to specific procedures.

Another popular brand that carries similar options is Accuvein, but you won’t find the prices for these brands listed on their websites.

You’re prompted call in for assistance from a sales agent.

However, the general consensus is these products can run around $5,000.

Some hospitals already carry some version of a vein visualizers, but for health care professionals who don’t have access to one and want their own without spending thousands, a lot of companies of created smaller, more affordable vein finders, like VeinLite, which sells equipment ranging from about $200 - $600.

Illumivein offers an even cheaper option with an illuminator that looks like a mini-flash light for $24.99.

If  you don’t want to sacrifice quality and you’re the DIY (Do It Yourself), MacGyver type, you always have the option to build one yourself!

Instructables has put an amazing tutorial together on how to create your very own vein finder:

This project will only cost you between  $15 - $50, based on materials, and three to six hours of your time.  

After your blood, sweat and tears (we’re just kidding about the blood part) you can use this time-saving device on your patients right away.

Regardless of which option is used, vein illumination makes it easier for both the health professional and the patient to deal with drawing blood.

Have you ever used a vein finder? Tell us what your thoughts are!