?And not just when you’re trying to fit into pants. Excess buttocks fat, especially in women, can reduce the effectiveness of vaccines, painkillers, contraceptives and anti-nausea drugs that are typically injected there.

Australian doctor Victoria O. Chan made a study of 50 patients, half of them men and half women, ranging in age from 21 to 87. All received medicine by intramuscular buttock injection and all were scheduled for CT scans.

The researchers injected the medicine along with a milliliter of air and then did a CT scan to establish the location of the air bubble and the medicine in order to spot whether the medicine landed in the muscle, where it could be absorbed, or whether it remained lodged in fat.

The upper, outer quadrant of the buttock is a great place to get an injection because it has relatively few nerves. There are also few bones and major blood vessels that could be harmed by a needle, but the multitude of blood vessels in the area means drugs injected there are easily absorbed into the system.

However, in their research, Chan found only 32% of the injected medications actually reached the muscles. Shots missed the mark much more often in women than in men. 56% percent of the drugs injected into men reached their muscles, compared with only 8% for women.

Chan says people with large rear ends may need to be injected with longer needles. Her colleague Dr. William A. Palmer says, “Very thin patients can have thick buttock fat, whereas morbidly obese patients can carry their weight around the abdomen and have tiny little buttocks.”

African Americans are often thin with large buttocks, since this is an excellent way to store food (fat) in hot climates. People who complain that their flu shot gave them the flu (an impossibility) may have been exposed to the virus before they got their shot or they may have been injected in the buttocks, in which case the medicine may have not reached the bloodstream.

Art credit: http://www.freeimages.co.uk

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