Published on: November 6, 2018 | Topics: Wound Closure
Wound closure technology has seen a great deal of innovation in recent years. When performing surgical closures, doctors and other medical professionals now have a wide variety of tools at their disposal. While many surgeons still favor the traditional closure modalities they’ve been using for years, they should take the time to make themselves aware of the options available to them as they may find solutions that are better suited to their practice.
Here is a Quick Breakdown of Traditional vs. Advanced Skin Closure and Wound Care Technology:
Traditional Closure Technology
Sutures: Stitches are still a preferred closure modality for many medical professionals. Versatile and familiar, sutures are a mainstay of medical education, making them the default option for doctors who may not be as familiar with newer closure technology. While innovations in materials have made sutures more effective, there are still a number of disadvantages to using them:
- They can be time consuming to apply.
- Require the use of a needle, which can lead to needlestick injuries.
- Some skill and expertise is needed for application, meaning that a doctor must apply them in most cases.
- Their “whiskers” can catch on clothing or stick to the patient
- Even if applied properly, they can result in significant scarring.
- The suture materials can cause inflammation or even infection.
- They may need to be removed, which necessitates a return visit to the doctor.
Staples: Whether metal or polymer, staples are used when an incision must be closed quickly and securely. While not as common as sutures, staples are still a mainstay of most hospital operating rooms. Their speed aside, staples come with a few serious disadvantages:
- Appearance can be unsettling for patients.
- Tend to leave “track” scarring.
- Metal staples must be removed by a professional, requiring a return visit to the doctor.
Glue: Since noninflammatory surgical glue was introduced in the 1970s and 1980s, there have been conversations about whether or not it would ever replace sutures and staples as the preferred closure method. So far, this has not proven to be the case. In fact, glue is most commonly used in conjunction with sutures as a sealant to support closure rather than the primary means of closure. While effective for smaller incisions and wounds, there are a few reasons why glue hasn’t replaced sutures:
- It can be messy to use, sticking to gloves and making it difficult to apply.
- When used for closure, careful approximation of skin edges is needed.
- It is difficult to remove if it needs to come off for any reason.
Tape: Much like glue, tape is often used to supplement surgical closure. It is very effective for treating minor wounds and for supporting sutures, but a few qualities make it poorly suited as a primary closure modality:
- It cannot be under too much tension.
- The adhesive can get gummy or release prematurely.
- Moisture can cause it to lose its secure grip.
Advanced Closure Technology
Zippers: A new form of device consisting of two adhesive strips joined by zip-tie lines, various forms of zippers have hit the market in recent years. The strips are applied on either side of the wound and then the zip-ties are pulled tightly to achieve closure. While faster than sutures and non-invasive, zippers face a few fundamental shortcomings:
- Application requires a multi-step, and not entirely intuitive, process.
- Requires some “finagling” to position the strips and zip-ties.
- Zip-tie ends need to be trimmed, which introduces the possibility of a sharps injury from scissors.
- The zipper has a raised profile, making it more likely to catch on clothing or other fabrics.
- Due to its design, the zipper can’t be used for wounds that curve more than 20 degrees.
BandGrip: The latest development in wound closure technology, BandGrip Micro-Anchor Skin Closures offer a quick, intuitive, and non-invasive closure option for surgeons. Resembling a typical adhesive bandage, BandGrip’s patented micro-anchors grip the skin tightly and hold wound edges together to facilitate a secure closure. This revolutionary device offers a number of advantages over traditional modalities:
- Can be applied much faster than sutures.
- Eliminates the risk of needle or sharps injuries.
- Does not need to be applied by a doctor.
- Delivers better cosmetic results, with less scarring that sutures.
- Supports better ambulation due to its smooth, water-resistant surface.
- Does not require a return visit to the doctor for removal.
As closure technology continues to develop, medical professionals should reconsider what modalities they prefer when it comes to surgical procedures. While sutures may be a familiar and trusted option, they are no longer the only choice. By turning to more advanced closure technology like BandGrip Micro-Anchor Skin Closures, medical professionals can deliver better healing results that lead to improved patient satisfaction.