Wound Closure

Wound Closure Supplies

Wound Closure

Closing and healing a wound as effectively as possible is really important for a variety of reasons, including preventing scarring, infection, and promoting rapid healing. Some wounds are small enough that stitches, staples, or other wound closure methods aren’t necessary.

That is where steri-strips or wound closure strips come in handy.

What Are Wound Closures?

For minor injuries, skin closure can be accomplished using simple wound closure strips. Using adhesive, they pull the sides of the wound together.

Wound closures have some advantages over stitches and staples, including reducing the likelihood of scarring and for ease of care. They are very simple to apply, and typically require a secondary bandage to protect both the strips and the wound itself. It's best to let a medical professional decide whether a wound needs stitches, or whether steri-strips will be sufficient.

What is the Purpose of Wound Closure Strips and How are they Used?

You use Steri-strips or wound closure strips for skin closure in the case of a minor, generally smaller wound. Musculoskeletal joints that move and flex often require flexible wound closures to prevent reopening the wound.

They can also be secondary support to subcutaneous (under the skin) stitches or as additional support for other wound closure techniques. Alternatively, you might use skin closures in conjunction with a tissue adhesive as an additional layer of support and protection.

Washing with mild soap and water and patting dry is acceptable, but submerging the wound in bathtubs or sinks, pulling on the wound closure strips, or applying any lotion, cream, anti-biotic ointment, or another substance can compromise the integrity of the strips and the wound itself.

What Are Wound Closures Made Of?

Manufacturers make most steri-strips with a porous, non-woven backing, pressure-sensitive, and hypoallergenic adhesive coating, and then reinforce them with polyester fibers to add additional strength.

There are variations that are waterproof or non-reinforced and designed to blend with various skin tones, but for the most part, other than size differences, steri-strips are made of similar materials.

What Size Ranges are Typically Available?

Keep in mind that wound closures are designed to pull the skin together without touching the wound itself, usually as an alternative to stitches. As they are often used on joints, they are not very wide. In fact, the widest size is a single inch. Instead of using a large skin closure, generally, use several smaller ones in conjunction with one another to keep a wound closed.

Nor are they very long. For most wounds that are wide enough to require a strip larger than the typical sizes offered, stitches or staples are a better option.

Selecting the right size steri-strip largely depends on the size and location of the wound. For those around joint areas, more strips that are smaller and as short as possible often are the best choice.

As with any wound closure, consult a medical professional for proper application of wound closure strips and proper continuing care after application. As most skin closure strips are designed to fall off on their own, never tug, pull, or remove them without consulting your physician or medical professional. Watch the wound area for redness, swelling, and discharge that might indicate an infection, and return to care immediately if such symptoms should occur.