Public Service Announcement

While cyanoacrylate is, indeed, used as a liquid suture, it might be advisable to seek some form of training in that particular application, because the “intuitive” thing to do — in your words — just might send the ER doctor into orbit.

As a “fer instance” let us say you have developed a sudden gaping wound in your leg. Let us further say that you have been told that your best friends’ fathers’ brother may (or may not) have used Super Glue to save the life of his Company Commander in VietNam…

(Only a complete cynic might opine that it is more likely that you read it on an Internet Forum, or heard it in a Hollywood screenplay, but I digress)

… If you hobble into the kitchen, grab a full tube of Super Glue from the drawer, stuff the nozzle into the afore-mentioned gaping wound, squeeze the entire contents of the bottle there-in — well, let us say that the next fifteen minutes of jamming the sides of the laceration together are less than useful, shall we?

That was a masterful use of invective on the part of the ER doc, though, wasn’t it? Almost poetry.

Nothing but love,


I admit it ...
I don't know why ...

32 thoughts on “Public Service Announcement”

  1. I would dearly love to know Ed Zackery what'nthehell happened and to whom! Certainly nothing 'directly' involving our humble scribe…

    WV: "grasm" or, maybe not…

  2. Is there a link? my mental pictures are kaleidoscope of
    crackers with IQ's of shoe size average. that 15 minutes would have been better spent on 911 or inroute to a doc in box or afore mentioned ER.

    I hope AD didn't get this call. Probably would have tied him to the fender instead of wasting a gurney.

    wv bopecut, yet that too,

  3. Oh my. I keep superglue in my medical kit for emergency suturing as well, but at least I bothered to educate myself on how to do it.

    Did the schmuck even manage to stop the bleeding in the process, or was he still leaking when he hit the ER?

  4. Well, for one thing, gaping holes are the domain of Quik Clot. I never use superglue for any cut deeper than a centimeter or so. Second, it helps to slow the bleeding with direct pressure first.

    Once it's down to a trickle, I squirt the smallest amount possible along the side of the cut and hold it together for two minutes or so.

    If that don't work, it's time to go get actual stitches.

    I've had a bit of experience since I got my '76 CJ7.

  5. I thought every one new gapping hole is papertowel and duct tape.


  6. Funny, I just had an "incident" where, upon arrival, the ummmm…. individual…. stated he had attempted to superglue a shallow 1" laceration at his hairline closed…. it might have worked, too, if he hadn't consumed "2 12 Packs" in the previous 6 or 8 hours before starting the "procedure" … I did not know they made "family sized" superglue bottles, either……. this would pose a problem to most people, but I don't think there was a comb in the trailer….

    "every one new"
    Yer doin' that on purpose, ain't ya, Joshkie?

  7. @ Sean D Sorrentino: You pinch the wound together and apply the glue to the surface. It forms a layer over the wound and essentially "tapes" it together. There's a video for how to use Dermabond (the medical brand name) here.

  8. I'd be shocked if alcohol or drugs weren't involved somewhere in this procedure. Anesthesia, you know.

  9. First off, Superglue burns like a sonofabiscuit on open cuts. Secondly, it's used as a skin closure, not when the cut is through the muscle fascia.

    Liquid Skin is much preferred over superglue for little-bitty cuts, and I keep it on hand for when suturing myself (or others) is not needed or a butterfly won't handle it alone.

  10. @Jake: thanks. That's kind of the way I've used it before. Where I really like it is when I have a cut on a fingertip. Bandages are about useless, and loose flaps of skin get caught on everything.

    @Rabbit: I'll look for some Liquid Skin and use that instead.

  11. Always kept a couple of tubes in my gear bag when I played beer league hockey. Was great for both the goal pads and the occasional "nick" from a skate. Never really considered it for anything more serious. I guess I'm just not inventive that way.

    And y'know… I'm okay with that.


  12. Surely you jest.

    Duct tape.

    Only answer back in the day and now is duct tape.

    Before duct tape baling wire may have been the common choice, but that would be before my time.

    Not that I would know PERSONALLY, but say *hypothetically* an individual slashed the living puppy poop out of his hand with one of those weapons of mass destruction-the box cutter.

    And say said individual rinsed the slashed body part with running water from the faucet and proceeded to dump a bottle of hydrogen peroxide into the wound, slap a gauze pad on top and wrap the whole thing with duct tape tightly enough to stop the bleeding and pinch the edges of the slash together.

    This would *hypothetically* allow relief sufficient to finish the project at hand (hanging a wooden door) before said individual would need to seek appropriate medical attention.

    When the doctor finally did stitch up the wound the scar would be barely visible six weeks later.

    *Hypothetically* of course.

    In Liberty,

  13. Just wondering what this scar would look like. In the words of C J Yates…"chicks dig scars" ……..there is a limit.

  14. Could not really say what chicks dig.

    Most women of the female variety are just relieved to know their man is fit enough to keep the brood in fins, feathers and fur.

    *Hypothetically*, of course.

    In Liberty,

  15. Climbers and gymnasts use superglue when they've ripped a callus off their hands. Apply a thin layer, let dry, repeat. When it's built up enough, sand it smooth and flush, and you're back in business. The first layer or two stings a bit though.

    When using it on cuts, the trick is not putting too much on, or you risk gluing down the fingers you're using to hold the cut closed. Or so I'm told 😉

  16. "When using it on cuts, the trick is not putting too much on, or you risk gluing down the fingers you're using to hold the cut closed. Or so I'm told ;-)"

    Heh. There's a reason we medical types use forceps to hold the wound closed. 🙂

  17. It wasn't his best friends' fathers' brother. I tell you true. He heard it from Sumdood.

  18. You didn't…


    Sweet Mother Danu, you did! I would have probably dropped into Klingon cursing if you showed up on my shift.

  19. OH, sorry. It wasn't you who did this to yourself. Mea culpa. Carry on.

  20. OUCH! Stupidity that grave should result in repetition of preschool.

    The gene pool could really use some chlorine.

    Ulises from CA


    Thank you for your honorable military service to our country!

  21. Army medics use something similar for emergency blister repairs. If you have to keep marching, they drain the liquid and pump in the glue. It instantly reattaches the skin layer, forming an instant callus. It's one of the few occasions where screaming is encouraged…

  22. @Jake:

    So…how DO you get the forceps loose once you superglue them to the critter?

  23. @ Bergman:

    You very, very carefully DON'T.

    But, if you do, the first thing you do is be glad it's the forceps glued to the critter and not your fingers. 😀

    Seriously, though, apparently acetone (i.e., nail polish remover) will work as a solvent on superglue, and there are some others as well.

  24. So what IS the proper method for extemporized liquid sutures with the aforementioned cyanoacrylate?

  25. as a knitter of socks, i find that sometimes the small (2-3mm) needles can poke holes in my fingertips. i have found brush-on nail glue to be indispensible. it closes the hole, and holds about 24 hours. then it wears off, but the skin has begun to heal and it usually stays closed. i would never use it or superglue for anything worse, except maybe a fingernail that has torn below the quick. YMMV of course. carry on!

  26. Tola, I have sucessfully used Gorilla brand Superglue for something along those lines (partially ripped a nail off my finger down into the quick in the rabbit's cage bars.) Managed to glue the torn bit back down and layered more glue on to to stabilize the torn bit until the nail grew out far enough to cut it off. The gorilla stuff has what appear to me to be finely chopped glass fiber in it as reinforcement. Glue burned like bloody hell going on though…

  27. My wife, who has worked as…

    ER nurse
    CV-ICU nurse
    CV-OR nurse
    CV-ICU head
    Director if CV Nursing

    Has informed me that super glue used to CLOSE a wound from the outside may work. She said though if you squirt the contents INTO the wound it would make an awful mess that would never heal and anyone having to fix it would have to do alot of cutting.

    Yea use quick clot if you can and save the superglue to close small wounds.

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