In this article, we will dive into the details of how a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) is inserted. A CGM is a medical device that measures glucose levels in real-time. It is commonly used by people with diabetes to monitor their blood sugar levels and manage their condition. There are several different types of CGMs on the market, but the process for inserting them is similar. We will discuss the steps involved in the insertion process, as well as some tips for ensuring a successful insertion.

Step 1: Preparing for the Insertion

Before inserting the CGM, you should make sure you have all the necessary supplies. This includes the CGM sensor, transmitter, and receiver. You should also have an alcohol swab, skin barrier wipe, and adhesive tape. If you are new to using a CGM, you may want to watch a tutorial video or read the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

In addition to the CGM sensor, transmitter, and receiver, you may also want to have a spare sensor and transmitter on hand in case of a malfunction. You should also make sure that the battery on the receiver is charged and that you have enough test strips for your blood glucose meter.

Step 2: Choosing the Site

The next step is to choose a site for the sensor. CGMs are typically inserted on the abdomen or upper buttocks, but other sites may be used as well. It is important to choose a site that is free of scars, moles, or other blemishes. You should also avoid areas where clothing or tight waistbands may rub against the sensor.

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Step 3: Cleaning the Site

Once you have chosen a site for the sensor, you should clean the area with an alcohol swab. This will help to disinfect the area and reduce the risk of infection. Be sure to let the area dry completely before proceeding.

Step 4: Applying the Skin Barrier

Some people find that applying a skin barrier before inserting the sensor can help to prevent irritation or allergic reactions. Skin barriers come in the form of wipes or sprays and create a protective barrier between the skin and the adhesive on the sensor. If you choose to use a skin barrier, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 5: Inserting the Sensor

The sensor is typically inserted using a special applicator provided by the manufacturer. The applicator is placed over the site, and the sensor is inserted through a small needle. Once the sensor is in place, the needle is removed, and the applicator is discarded. The sensor should be firmly attached to the skin to ensure accurate readings.

Step 6: Attaching the Transmitter

The transmitter is attached to the sensor using a small adhesive patch. The transmitter sends the glucose readings from the sensor to the receiver, which displays the readings in real time. The transmitter should be firmly attached to the sensor to prevent it from falling off.

Step 7: Activating the CGM

Once the sensor and transmitter are in place, you should activate the CGM according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This usually involves pairing the transmitter with the receiver and calibrating the sensor using a blood glucose meter.

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Tips for a Successful Insertion

  1. Choose a site that is comfortable and easy to access. You will need to change the sensor every few days, so it is important to choose a site that is easy to reach.
  2. Use a skin barrier if you have sensitive skin or a history of allergic reactions to adhesives.
  3. Be sure to clean the insertion site thoroughly with an alcohol swab to reduce the risk of infection.
  4. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when inserting the sensor and attaching the transmitter.
  5. If you experience any pain or discomfort during the insertion process, stop and seek medical advice.
  6. Keep the sensor and transmitter dry and avoid exposing them to water or moisture.
  7. Check the sensor regularly to make sure it is still firmly attached and providing accurate readings.


Inserting a continuous glucose monitor is a simple process that can help people with diabetes manage their blood sugar levels more effectively. By monitoring glucose levels in real-time, CGMs can help people make better-informed decisions about their diet, exercise, and medication. However, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure successful insertion and accurate readings.

While CGMs have many benefits, they are not without their limitations. CGMs can be expensive, and not all insurance plans cover them. Some people may also experience skin irritation or discomfort from the adhesive on the sensor. Additionally, CGMs are not a substitute for regular blood glucose testing and should be used in conjunction with other diabetes management strategies.

In conclusion, inserting a continuous glucose monitor is a relatively simple process that can have a significant impact on diabetes management. By following the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and taking steps to ensure a successful insertion, people with diabetes can benefit from real-time glucose monitoring and make more informed decisions about their health. If you are considering using a CGM, talk to your healthcare provider about whether it is a good option for you and how to use it effectively.

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