What are the advantages of superglues (tissue adhesive) for wound closure?

Updated: Mar 05, 2020
  • Author: Desiree Ratner, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Superglues that contain acrylates may be applied to superficial wounds to block pinpoint skin hemorrhages and to precisely coapt wound edges. Because of their bacteriostatic effects and easy application, they have gained increasing popularity. [45, 46, 47, 48]

Tissue adhesives have demonstrated either cosmetic equivalence or superiority to traditional sutures in various procedures, including sutureless closure of pediatric day surgeries, saphenous vein harvesting for coronary artery bypass, and blepharoplasty. [49, 50, 51] The most commonly used adhesive, 2-octyl cyanoacrylate (Dermabond), has also been used as a skin bolster for suturing thin, atrophic skin. [52]

Advantages of these topical adhesives include rapid wound closure, painless application, reduced risk of needle sticks, absence of suture marks, and elimination of any need for removal. Disadvantages include increased cost and less tensile strength (in comparison with sutures).

The use of tissue adhesives in dermatologic surgery is still evolving. It appears that using high viscosity 2-octyl cyanoacrylate in the repair of linear wounds after Mohs micrographic surgery results in cosmetic outcomes equivalent to those reported with the use of epidermal sutures. [53]

Greenhill and O’Regan reported on the use of N-butyl 2-cyanoacrylate for closure of parotid wounds and its relation to keloid and hypertrophic scar formation, as compared with the use of sutures. [54] Their results indicated a simpler technique and a comparable result with the tissue adhesive.

In a related area, Tsui and Gogolewski reported on the use of microporous biodegradable polyurethane membranes, which may be useful for coverage of skin wounds, among other things. [55]

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