When someone has been injured with a deep cut or laceration, their physician has a number of options available to them, including sutures, staples, glues, and tapes. We’ve covered the pros and cons of each of these numerous times within this blog, and have even authored two eBooks on the topic (one for orthopedic surgeons and another for trauma surgeons). However, as the creators of BandGrip, a unique, non-invasive method of wound closure, we’re often asked how our product differs from your basic butterfly stitch, sometimes called butterfly bandages or Steri Strips. Well, we’re here to tell you that there is a big difference between the two, which we’ll cover shortly. But first, a look at butterfly stitches and their common usage.
Using Butterfly Stitches for Wound Closure
Butterfly stitches—thin adhesive bandages—are most commonly applied by physicians to small yet often deep cuts when suturing isn’t necessary. They got their name because they have a narrow non-adhesive area in the center and adhesive wider sides, making them look like everyone’s favorite insect. Butterfly stitches are easy to apply; all the physician needs to do is stick the bandage to one side of the wound, pull it over the wound, and stick it to the other side; this pulls the skin together to promote healing, while also allowing the wound to breathe. While butterfly strips are not as strong as sutures, they can be just as effective as long as they are kept dry and the patient keeps an eye on them throughout the healing process. Unfortunately, if a cut or laceration occurs in a joint area or another curved section of the body, butterfly stitches may not have the strength needed to keep a wound properly closed. This can lead to wound dehiscence, in which the wound actually splits apart, often leading to infection and other complications. Butterfly stitches also aren’t recommended on oily skin surfaces.
Some physicians may opt to treat a wound with a combination of traditional sutures and butterfly stitches. For example, if a cut or laceration went deep enough into the skin, the physician may use absorbable sutures to sew together the deeper layers. Absorbable sutures are more prone to scarring than the non-absorbable variety, but by using them on the deeper layers they don’t compromise the look of the visible upper layer of skin. Then, butterfly stitches will be applied to the skin’s surface to further close the wound.
While it’s best to have a physician address any deep wounds you acquire when possible, it’s not always a possibility, so there are also butterfly stitches that can be purchased over the counter at any pharmacy. They can be used to treat small cuts and wounds, and even deep wounds until you can get to the emergency room. For longer wounds, apply multiple butterfly bandages at ⅛ inch intervals. However, it’s important to note that there are some instances in which you should not use butterfly stitches:
- If the wound is jagged
- If the wound is under tension (such as a body joint, as mentioned)
- If the wound goes into the fat or muscle tissue
- If the wound continues to bleed despite the application of pressure
- If you are concerned about scarring
In a pinch and don’t have butterfly stitches on hand? Wilderness expert Diane Vuković of Primal Survivor shows how you can create DIY butterfly bandages using regular bandages and even duct tape.
Using BandGrip for Wound Closure
Like butterfly stitches, BandGrip is also a non-invasive method of wound closure using an adhesive. However, BandGrip takes wound closure technology one giant leap forward using unique, curved micro-anchors, which gently and securely grip the skin on either side of a wound to keep edges closed during the critical healing period. Unlike butterfly stitches, BandGrip can be used as a replacement for traditional sutures and staples, and can be tiled for use on large cuts and lacerations following planned or emergency surgeries. Patients using BandGrip can shower within 24 hours of application, and the technology allows for better ambulation following surgery. It’s also not limited to non-joint areas of the body.
View the video below to see BandGrip in action.
BandGrip can be applied quickly by physicians, surgeons, and other healthcare professionals. However, it can also be used by anybody on the scene of accident or injury. BandGrip’s vision is that every household, workplace, and car will have BandGrip on hand, turning everyone into a first responder.
If you’re going to be undergoing a surgical procedure, be sure to ask your physician about BandGrip and enjoy the benefits of safe healing with reduced scarring and increased mobility.