Stitches, Staples, Glue: Which Do You Need?

Wounds that have an increased risk of infection, such as dirty cuts or crush injuries, are usually closed within 6 hours after the injury. Occasionally a wound that has an increased risk of infection will not be closed until after 24 hours, or may not be stitched at all, so that adequate cleaning and antibiotic treatment can be done initially to prevent infection. A cut with a clean object, such as a clean kitchen knife, may be treated from 12 to 24 hours after the injury depending on the location of the cut. Instead of sutures we have other options given below.

Adhesive Tape: Use sticky strips of tape (such as Steri-Strips) to pull together the edges of minor skin wounds. Skin tape costs less than other types of materials used to close wounds. Use of adhesive tape is done if you have a minor cut, laceration, or incision (low-tension wound). He might also use it during surgery if you have buried or absorbable skin sutures (stitches).The strips usually fall off by themselves in about 10 days.

Sutures (Stitches) : This is the most common technique for closing skin wounds. A doctor uses a piece of surgical thread called a suture to sew (or stitch) two ends of skin together. Surgeons once used animal tendons, horsehair, pieces of plants, or human hair to create sutures. Today, they’re made from natural or manmade materials like plastic, nylon, or silk. Sutures may be permanent or absorbable (they dissolve in the body). Which type your doctor chooses depends on many things, including the type of incision and your risk of infection.

Glue (Tissue Adhesive): Doctors use surgical glue- also called “tissue adhesive” or “liquid stitches”– to close both major and minor wounds, such as lacerations, incisions made during laparoscopic surgery, and wounds on the face or in the groin.Surgical glue costs more than sutures. Some people are allergic to it. The glue can’t be used if you have an increased risk for slow wound healing (this occurs with diabetes and other health conditions).Application of the glue requires a precise technique. Ask your doctor about his experience using this wound-closure material.

Staples: Doctors can use a skin stapler to quickly close a long skin wound or cut in a hard-to-reach area. Staples may dissolve in the body — meaning they’re absorbable — or may be external and need to be removed by your doctor. This will help to quickly close your wound with minimal damage. They’re easier to remove than stitches, and you spend less time under anaesthesia. With absorbable staples, you also have a lower risk of infection. Wounds tend to heal better, and you have fewer issues with scarring.

Zipper: This is an alternative to conventional sutures. It’s often used for wounds that need to be monitored by your doctor on a regular basis. It combines a zipper with two strips of adhesive, which are placed on either side of the wound and trimmed to size after surgery. When the zipper closes, it pulls the edges of the skin together. Studies show it’s painless to remove, so it could be a good option for kids. The zipper can’t be used in obese patients and those with wounds that curve more than 20 degrees.

By – Tutor – Ms. Aradhana George
Department of Nursing
College Of Nursing UCBMSH
Uttaranchal (P.G.) College Of Bio-Medical Sciences & Hospital

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