What Is Dermabond®?

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  • Written By: Amanda Barnhart
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 26 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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Dermabond® is a liquid skin adhesive distributed by Ethicon, a company owned by the health care products manufacturer Johnson & Johnson. The adhesive has a purple tint and is used to close wounds and incisions that may otherwise require stitches. Dermabond® also forms a microbial shield to protect against infection.

Using a liquid seal is preferable to stitches in many situations because it often makes recovery and healing easier. Dermabond® is waterproof, so patients do not have to wait to shower as they do with many types of stitches. Caring for a wound or incision sealed with a liquid adhesive is often easier than a wound that is stitched closed because there is no need to change bandages and dressings.

Traditional stitches and staples often have to be removed, which can be uncomfortable and lead to its own post-removal healing period. Dermabond® gradually comes off by itself as the wound heals and seals, eliminating the need for a follow-up appointment to remove stitches. Stitches and staples often discolor the skin, leaving scars over the incision, while the adhesive typically leaves very little, if any, trace behind.

Doctors use a small brush to paint a film of the adhesive over a wound or incision. The substance forms a strong bond in less than three minutes, but remains flexible so that movement during the healing process is not hindered. Incisions sealed with Dermabond® usually heal within seven to 10 days, at which point the adhesive will wear off naturally.

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In many case, Dermabond® is used to seal surgical incisions, particularly in surgeries where scarring is most undesirable, such as C-sections and facial surgeries. The liquid adhesive can be used in place of stitches in almost any type of surgery, though it cannot be used in the mouth or around the eyes. Stitches may be also used instead of Dermabond® on areas where the skin is often stretched or pulled, to make sure the incision stays closed during the entire healing process.

Although Dermabond® is waterproof, it is important for patients to refrain from saturating the wound. The incision should be blotted dry since vigorous wiping with a towel can remove the adhesive. Patients should stay out of the sun and refrain from tanning during the healing process. Other topical medications and ointments can also loosen the adhesive, and should not be used until the incision is completely healed. Patients should always follow their doctors instructions regarding wound care, and follow up as appropriate.

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Discuss this Article

anon927846
Post 4

Dermabond is fantastic! I've had surgery twice and the MD used this both times (over a large incision). It peels off when wound is healed. No itching or irritating stitches or staples.

Monika
Post 3

It's interesting that while this stuff sound pretty hi-tech, there are still some instances where traditional stitches are better. For instance, my sister had elbow surgery, and the doctor chose to close up with traditional sutures instead of Dermabond.

My sister was a bit disappointed because she had heard of "liquid stitches" before, but obviously her doctor knew best! She healed up fine, but she does have quite a scar on her elbow now.

JaneAir
Post 2

@sunnySkys - Dermabond suture is pretty amazing. A friend of mine had a c-section awhile ago, and this is what they used to close up the incision. It healed beautifully, and didn't leave too bad of a scar. Compared to another friend I know that had a c-section that was stitched up, it looks amazing!

The only negative thing my friend said was that she had trouble remembering to pat the area dry. She was so busy with her new baby she could barely think straight! Luckily she didn't accidentally dislodge any of the Dermabond.

sunnySkys
Post 1

Wow! Dermabond skin adhesive sounds pretty amazing! When I was younger I had stitches, and the whole process was pretty annoying. I remember having to avoid getting the area wet, and then I had to go back and get the stitches removed. After all that, I had a pretty bad scar!

It sounds like Dermabond pretty much gets rid of these problems. You don't have to worry about getting it wet, or even going back to the doctor to get it removed.

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