Super New Glue vs Stitches for Closing Wounds

Released: 5/22/1997 12:00 AM EDT
Source Newsroom: University of Michigan
Contact Information

Available for logged-in reporters only

University of Michigan Medical Center May 15, 1997
Contact: Pete Barkey Phone: (313) 764-2220

SUPER NEW GLUE IS A CUT ABOVE STITCHES FOR CLOSING WOUNDS Note: B-roll footage is available upon request

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Remember all those warnings about "crazy gluing" your fingers together? If a University of Michigan Medical Center doctor has his way, emergency rooms all over the United States will be using something similar in place of stitches.

James Quinn, M.D., a U-M emergency medicine expert, has completed an extensive study of a skin adhesive that takes the place of sutures in closing wounds. The study will be published in the May 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The glue, called octylcyanoacrylate tissue adhesive, is awaiting final FDA approval. Quinn found in clinical studies that the glue is less painful to use, quicker to apply than sutures and produces excellent cosmetic results.

The adhesive is similar to crazy glue and some other skin adhesives used in Canada and Europe, but according to Quinn, it's stronger, more flexible and less toxic. It works by simply squeezing the wound together and applying the glue on top, essentially forming a bridge. It can be used practically anywhere on the body, except the hands, feet and around mucous membranes such as the lips. The glue does not have to removed; it simply wears away as skin cells are sloughed off.

The study looked at 130 Canadian patients, half of whom were treated with the new skin adhesive while the other half received standard sutures. Quinn says the glue is great for treating children and others who are afraid of needles since it's a virtually pain-free procedure. "It's not uncommon to have to sedate children in order to repair relatively small wounds; now we won't have to." The glue also saved valuable time in the emergency room. The average time to close a wound with the tissue adhesive was three and a half minutes, while it took doctors 12.5 minutes on average to stitch up a cut. Finally, a long-term check of both study groups found no appreciable cosmetic differences between wounds closed by the new adhesive and those repaired by conventional stitching.

Another major beneifit, Quinn and colleagues from the University of Ottawa have discovered, is that infection can be significantly reduced by using the new skin adhesive. In a separate study to be presented May 19 in Washington, D.C,. at the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine, Quinn found that sutured wounds were three times more likely to become infected compared with wounds closed by the new skin adhesive.

The glue is currently applied only on lacerations, but future uses could include burns and abrasions. "This is really the tip of the iceberg in terms of how the adhesive may be used," Quinn said.

The skin adhesive is being manufactured by Closure Medical Corp. of Raleigh, N.C. and distributed under the brand name Dermabond^¡ by Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. FDA approval could come as early as this summer.

For more information about the study or to schedule an interview with Quinn, please contact Pete Barkey or David Wilkins at (313) 764-2220.

Note: Quinn will be in Washington D.C. from May 16 through May 21. He will be available for interviews during this time.

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