Can you use Super Glue to close cuts!!!
This article is for information only and not a medical advice. Please consult your doctor for medical advice.
During the Vietnam War, emergency medics began using the all-purpose glue to seal battle wounds in troops headed for surgery. The glue was so good at stemming bleeding that it was credited with saving many lives.
Nowadays, professional athletes often close small cuts with Super Glue or similar products to get back in the game in a hurry. The glues are also used by veterinarians, and many people keep a tube around the house to help them out of a medical pinch. It is believed that the glues — made from the chemical cyanoacrylate — not only stop bleeding quickly, but also lead to less scarring.
So should you keep some Super Glue in the medicine cabinet? Probably not, experts say. Studies show that although the glue can be useful in emergencies, it can also irritate the skin, kill cells and cause other side effects, particularly when used on deep wounds.
Wound adhesives are generally only used on minor wounds, no more than 5cm and with straight edges. Do not attempt to use glue on the following:
- wounds on the face
- wounds where the skin flexes or over joints
- wounds with uneven or jagged edges
- deep wounds
- wounds that are bleeding
- infected wounds
- animal bites
- puncture wounds
- dirty wounds
All Super Glues are not the same.
“Super Glue” or Cyanoacrylate (CA) is an acrylic resin which rapidly polymerises in the presence of water. The principle component of commercial CAs (SuperGlue, Krazy Glue, Loctite) is either methy-2-cyanoacrylate or ethyl-2-cyanoacrylate, the original forms of CA developed in 1942 by Kodak Laboratories. (The discovery was made whilst investigating potential, high clarity, acrylics for the use in gun sights. Whilst not suitable for this application CA was quickly identified as a fast acting, low shear strength adhesive.)
During the Vietnam war it was used in field surgery with good effect, however, despite the promising results it was not approved by the Unites States Food and Drug Administration due to the unknown toxicity and two significant side effects during the polymerization process:
- The curing process creates an exothermic reaction (heat) which can cause further tissue damage.
- The process releases cyanoacetate and formaldehyde – both irritants to the eyes, nose, throat and lungs.
To overcome these harmful issues, new CAs were developed with the express purpose of use in surgery. 2-octyl cyanoacrylate(Derma+flex® QS™, SurgiSeal, FloraSeal and Dermabond) causes less skin irritation and increased flexibility and strength compared to traditional ‘Super Glue’. In 1998 the US FDA approved 2-octyl cyanoacrylate for the closure of wounds and surgical incision and in 2001 was approved as “barrier against common bacterial microbes including certain staphylococci, pseudomonads, and Escherichia coli”.
n-butyl cyanoacrylate wound adhesives are available under the trade names: LiquiBand®, Histoacryl, Indermil, GluStitch, GluShield, andPeriacryl (dental adhesive)
Octyl ester, while providing a weaker bond, are more flexible. Butyl esters provide stronger bond, but are rigid.
A cheaper alternative…Veterinary Glues
If you are looking for something for your personal first aid kit and don’t fancy spending £120 on 6 x 5ml vials of Derma Bond, veterinary glues are commercially available as a happy compromise; not licensed for use on humans but essentially the same stuff in a different wrapper.
2-octyl cyanoacrylate Surgi-Lock and Nexaband
n-butyl cyanoacrylate VetGlu, Vetbond and LiquiVet
Here are some videos: