About Cuts And Scrapes: Stitches or glue?

Medicine has come a long way over the past few years and there are several alternatives to stitches. A special tape or even glue can be used to close some wounds.

Stitches: The advantage to stitches is that the doctor can line up the edges of the cut squarely and cleanly, the stitches keeping the edges in place while the cut heals. This is particularly important if the cut is on a part of the body that moves a lot. If the wound is jagged or uneven, stitches are usually preferred.

Some stitches dissolve on their own, while others need to be removed after a few days. The disadvantage of stitches can be the stress, especially to children, of having the area frozen and the stitches put in. Removing stitches is painless, however. The most you might notice is a tugging feeling as the thread is pulled through the skin.

Steri-strips: Sometimes, a cut is deep enough to need some help, but not deep enough for stitches. Also, if a cut is on the face, doctors may try to avoid using stitches to minimize scarring. In this case, steri-strips or butterfly strips may be used. These strips are very fine, thin and sticky and act like stitches. They usually stay on for a few days and then fall off on their own. The disadvantage is that they may not stay on long enough for certain cuts.

Skin Super Glue: A new addition to the emergency room, skin glue, is being used more and more when stitches can be avoided, especially on cuts where you want to minimize scarring. The advantage is that the glue goes on fast and painlessly but the disadvantage is that it can't be used on areas that bend a lot, like your knuckle.

Learn more about First Aid