A butterfly bandage, or Steri-Strips or butterfly stitches, is an adhesive bandage to close and secure the edges of minor, shallow cuts.
It is called a “butterfly” bandage because its shape resembles a butterfly with outstretched or two wings.
It comprises two narrow strips of adhesive tape with a small piece of non-stick gauze in the middle.
The strips are placed on either side of the cut, with the gauze in the middle, and then the adhesive is pressed down to hold the cut together.
Butterfly bandages are a good option for minor cuts that are not bleeding heavily and have straight edges.
They are not a good option for large cuts, gaping, or jagged edges. Butterfly bandages can also be used to hold skin grafts in place.
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The Primary Purpose of a Butterfly Bandage
By holding the wound edges in place, butterfly bandages promote proper wound healing, which can help reduce the risk of excessive scarring.
Butterfly bandages hold the edges of a wound together, allowing it to heal correctly. They are beneficial for shallow lacerations and injuries that do not require stitches.
Fast and Easy Application
Butterfly bandages are easy to apply and do not require any special tools or training, making them a convenient option for minor wound care.
Butterfly bandages offer additional support to the wound site, which can help prevent the wound from reopening and reduce the risk of infection.
Assessment of a Wound
Butterfly bandages are typically used for superficial wounds that are not deep enough to require stitches but still need to be held together for proper healing.
They work by pulling the skin on either side of the wound together, allowing it to heal correctly.
When using a butterfly bandage, you first want to determine if the wound suits this type of bandage. Take this into consideration when evaluating the wound.
- The size of the wound should not be intense and should be less than 1/2 inch long.
- It would be best to stop the wound from bleeding afore applying a butterfly bandage.
- Apply force using a cloth and go to a healing center if the wound bleeds for over 5 minutes.
- Butterfly stitches are designed to hold together straight-edge wounds. If your wound has a rough edge, use an alternative bandage.
Application of Butterfly Bandage
- Wash your hands & clean the wound with cool water. Make sure to remove any debris or dirt from the specific wounded area.
- Clean the skin around the wound with water and soap. Let the area dry for a few minutes.
- Apply the butterfly bandage by holding the two sides of the wound together.
- Don’t apply the butterfly bandage lengthwise, and make sure the center of the bandage goes across the wounded area.
- Place the butterfly bandage about 1/8 inch apart, and use as many as needed.
- This step is optional, but you may hold the butterfly bandage in place by adding additional bandages over the ends of the butterfly bandage. This will provide extra security.
How Long to Keep the Butterfly Bandage On?
- The butterfly bandage should stay in place for up to 10 with proper care and maintenance days.
- You must keep the bandage and wound dry during the first two days.
- After two days, the wound should be stable enough for you to shower.
- After washing, make sure to pat the area to remove all of the water gently.
- If the bandage becomes loose, don’t jerk on them. You could reopen the wound by pulling on the bandages. Use scissors instead to trim the edges of the bandage.
Make sure to notice the wound each day. Contact your medical professional if you see the following:
- Pus is leaking from the wound.
- Redness around the wound
- The wound swells, or the swelling doesn’t go down.
- The area around the wound becomes more painful and hot.
Removing Butterfly Bandage
After ten days, the butterfly bandages can be safely removed. Don’t pull the bandage off to prevent the risk of reopening the wound.
Use a solution of 1/2 water to soak and 1/2 hydrogen peroxide in the bandages. This solution will loosen the adhesive and gently lift the stitches off easily.
If a medical professional applied the butterfly bandage, they should provide you with information about how and when to get rid of them.
You might be instructed to wait for the butterfly bandage to fall off independently.
Tips for Using Butterfly Bandages
- Make sure that the cut is clean and dry before applying the bandage.
- Apply the bandage so the gauze is in the middle of the cut.
- Press down on the adhesive to make sure that the bandage is secure.
- Replace the bandage every few days or if it becomes loose or dirty.
If you have any questions about using butterfly bandages, you should consult with a healthcare professional.
It is important to note that butterfly bandages should only be used for minor, superficial wounds, not deep or gaping wounds requiring medical attention.
It would be best if you constantly connect with your doctor with any medical concerns like:
- Bleeding doesn’t stop after five to ten minutes of applying pressure.
- A rusty object caused the wound; you may need a tetanus shot.
- An animal caused the wound.
- The wound is massive or deep.
- You lose feeling or movement in the limb.
Butterfly bandages are a great alternative to old-fashioned sutures and can be applied at your house.
Make sure to keep the wound clean and dry. As with any medical product, using a butterfly bandage as directed by a healthcare professional is essential for optimal results and wound care.