Steri-Strips or Wound Closure Strips, are thin adhesive bandages often used as a backup to dissolvable stitches or after regular stitches are removed.
You can use them to help close shallow cuts or wounds, but it’s important to seek medical treatment for severe injuries.
Steri-strips are also called butterfly stitches or butterfly bandages when they are thin in the middle and have two wide, sticky areas at each end, like the wings of a butterfly.
But not all Steri-Strips look like this. The type most commonly used by surgeons are straight, thin strips.
If you’re not sure how to take care of Steri-Strips, or how to apply or remove them, read below:
When are Steri-Strips used?
Steri-Strips are typically used for cuts or wounds that aren’t too severe, or for minor surgery.
They help seal wounds by pulling the two sides of the skin together without making any contact with the actual wound. This reduces the chance of introducing any bacteria or other substances into the cut.
Steri-strips are sometimes a better option than regular stitches because they don’t need to be sewn into the skin and can be easily removed when the wound heals.
When considering whether to use Steri-Strips to close a wound, you’ll want to ask yourself the following questions:
- Are the edges of the wound straight? Steri-Strips are best for shallow cuts that have straight, clean edges.
- Is the bleeding light and manageable? Use a sterile cloth to put pressure on the cut for at least 5 minutes. Don’t use Steri-Strips if the cut is still bleeding after 5 minutes.
- Is the wound less than a 1/2 inch in length? Steri-Strips aren’t recommended for cuts that are 1/2 inch or longer.
- Is it in an area where the skin doesn’t move a lot? Steri-strips may not work well on joints or other areas where it may have trouble staying in place.
How to apply
Typically, your doctor or surgeon will apply Steri-Strips after surgery or treatment for an injury. But you may need to apply them at home if you can’t get medical care right away.
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