When Is It Too Late to Use a Butterfly Bandage? Best Guide 2023

Learn: When Is It Too Late to Use a Butterfly Bandage? 

This article will help you to be knowledgeable about butterfly bandages and their uses, differentiate them from stitches, and tell when it is too late to use a butterfly bandage.

Butterfly bandages derive their name from the fact that they have a non-adhesive core and sticky larger sides, giving them the appearance of a butterfly. They’re also known as “wound closure strips” or “butterfly stitches.”

It is too late to use a butterfly bandage when your wound is too large. A general rule of thumb is if your wound is larger than 1/2 inch or deeper than 1/4 inch, you should go to the ER for stitches.

Let’s dive in and learn more about butterfly bandages.

Why Would You Use Butterfly Bandages?

Why Would You Use Butterfly Bandages

It may not be ideal to travel to the emergency room, or the out of town small hospital for sutures for many wounds, even if they are large and deep. You may treat many of these wounds at home or in the field with a butterfly bandage.

Many people are astonished when a doctor in an emergency room uses a butterfly bandage rather than sutures. 

Because you know how important it is to be prepared – when you go outdoors camping with your children, you have to ensure to learn how to use a butterfly bandage. As you know: there are no emergency rooms in the wilderness.

As a result of having the products in your first aid kits, if someone develops a gaping wound, you have to be inclined to use one as first aid

Having butterfly bandages, and even being trained in first aid doesn’t ensure success for all wounds

Remember that butterfly bandages are for emergency remedies (on Amazon). 

Sending an injured person, especially with a deep large open wound, to a hospital to be checked by a doctor is much safer – at least to get a second opinion and ensure infection is mitigated before it becomes a problem. 

It will prevent even more severe life-threatening complications.

When Should You Use Butterfly Bandages?

When Should You Use Butterfly Bandages

If an Emergency arises, which first aid technique makes the most sense? It could be a Butterfly Bandage.

If you’re not sure whether a wound requires stitches, it’s best to be safe and visit the ER. 

However, calling for an emergency response team takes some time; you may avoid further complications if you know how and when to use a butterfly bandage.

A gaping hole can be closed in four ways after cleaning up the wounded area with at least clean drinking water.

Skin Glue

It will help if you treat only mild, shallow wounds with this. The glue keeps the superficial skin together so that healing can take place beneath it. Ensure you’ve dried out the wound area first before applying the glue.

Stitches

This method is the most prevalent type of wound closure, often known as sutures. Using a sterile needle, you may stitch the skin together using a suture material, usually silk or nylon.

Staples

You can also use staples for severe wounds with straight edges. Medical professionals frequently utilize this method in regions with thin skin, such as scalp wounds. Traditional stitches are slower and more challenging to apply.

Adhesive Bandages

Butterfly bandages and SteriStrips are examples of adhesive bandages. Adhesive bandages keep the skin on both sides of the incision instead of sewing it.

When NOT to Use Butterfly Bandages?

When NOT to Use Butterfly Bandages?

Many wounds are not suited for adhesive bandages like butterfly bandages and SteriStrips.

It is not advisable to use them in situations like ragged cuts and if there is tension in the wound region. For example, in wound cases on the knuckle or elbow, wounds on these areas would pull each time you moved.

Also, when an incision is exceedingly deep and penetrates the fat or muscle tissue under the skin or even after applying pressure to the wound, it continues to flow. 

And lastly, if you’re concerned about having scars. (In a life threatening First Aid situation, a scar is far more desirable than infection, shock, death or other conditions or results – exercise good judgment.)

In addition, when an animal bite causes a wound, you should never try to treat it yourself. You will almost certainly require antibiotics or a tetanus injection. Similarly, if you feel the injury is unclean or has something lodged, get expert help rather than treating it at home.

Butterfly Bandages and Stitches Compared

Butterfly Bandages and Stitches Compared

The most significant advantage of butterfly bandages is that they are simple to apply and do not cause pain, as having stitches, no matter how strong you are, is never enjoyable.

Suture removal is also something you don’t have to be concerned about that would require a medical professional.

Bandages are, however, less effective in treating more severe wounds. Stitches, on the other hand, can hold multiple layers of skin together. The butterfly bandage merely protects the damage from the skin’s surface.

Stitches are likely to be the best option for any severe incision. You could also expect less scarring with stitches. If you have a facial cut and are concerned about a scar, go to the emergency room for sutures.

When Should You Get Stitches?

When Should You Get Stitches?​

Many individuals are unaware that receiving sutures has a limited window of opportunity. 

Most doctors will not sew a wound that has happened for more than 24 hours. Some doctors refuse to suture an injury that occurs less than 12 hours after it occurs.

If you’re not sure if you need sutures, it’s best to go to the ER rather than try to treat yourself at home. It could be too late by the moment you realize you require sutures.

Because of the risk of infection, surgeons will not perform sutures to treat a wound after a set amount of time. 

The longer it takes for germs to penetrate the wound, the more likely that stitches are still applicable as a front line wound treatment. 

You will contain the bacteria inside the wound after it is closed. An infection may develop with no means to escape. This condition may then spread throughout your body.

If you go to the ER for a cut after an extended period, you’re more likely to receive a butterfly bandage rather than stitches.

Some surgeons will sew the incision long after it has healed, although they may need to install a drain. They may also do “debriding,” which involves removing tissue from the wound’s sides to make it fresher for sewing.

Both of these are unpleasant experiences. Therefore it’s best to get the wound treated correctly right away.

Lastly, you can use butterfly bandages for mild straight cuts before it’s too late. Make the wound stick together with a butterfly bandage while seeking medical assistance for more severe injuries.

Last Words about when it's appropriate to use butterfly bandages

There have been some exciting advancements in “non-invasive wound healing,” including devices that sew up the skin without needles in recent years. 

Many hospitals are increasingly employing them to phase out using stitches in the future.

The devices are similar to butterfly bandages, except they employ a “zip” to close the wound. Some come in strips that can treat wounds, which you just cut to the length of the injury.

So, when is it too late to use a butterfly bandage? If you believe you require stitches, it is always best to go to the ER, but these bandages might be helpful in your survival medical kit or emergency preparation box for smaller wounds.

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