Physical Address

304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124

How to Apply and Remove Butterfly Stitches

Butterfly Stitches, also known as Steri-Strips or butterfly bandages, are narrow adhesive bandages that are used to close small, shallow cuts. These non-adhesive tape strips can be used instead of traditional sutures to close minor cuts. However, this method isn’t ideal if the cut is large or gaping and has ragged edges, or won’t stop bleeding. You should also avoid applying butterfly stitches on areas that have a lot of movement such as finger joints, or an area that’s moist or hairy.

When to use butterfly stitches

Make sure to assess the wound before you begin. If there are clean edges, butterfly stitches will hold everything together. If your cut has ragged edges or bleeding, it is probably too large for a butterfly stitch.

It is highly dependent on the wound and your needs. While it might seem as if a butterfly stitch would be sufficient in every situation, that isn’t always the case. For example, while they are most found on small cuts and scrapes, they can also be implemented on deep lacerations. Butterfly stitches are good for keeping clean edges in place and when used improperly can cause more trauma than necessary.

The butterfly method uses a series of folds and turns to create a small pocket within the wound. The idea is to create several layers of closure, more so than a simple knot or adhesive bandage. Some people find the butterfly method easier to apply than other closure techniques for several reasons. First, it is quicker than applying strips of gauze, but it can also be used on wounds that have been cleaned by doctors or nurses.

How to use butterfly stitches

  • Clean the wound
  • Close the wound
  • Secure a butterfly stitch on the open side of wound
  • Stick half of the bandage on one side, then bring over to where you need another stitch c
  • Ensure that all edges are secured
  • Secure more stitches in between each 1/8” strip

The butterfly stitches are one of the quickest and most basic ways to close a cut. They are also helpful for small cuts that don’t need stitches directly over the wound, or if your doctor ordered you to keep them closed for a few days.

Wounds can sometimes be difficult to close. This can happen if the edges of the wound are slippery or thin, causing the butterfly stitch to slide off. In that instance, the surgeon may want you to use a dermal elastic bandage instead of butterfly stitches.

The butterfly stitch is a simple and effective way to close a cut. It looks like it’s made up of many small stitches, but they’re really just one large one. The butterfly stitches help hold the edges of your wound together while you heal.

How to care for butterfly stitches

If your butterfly stitches come loose, trim them with scissors. Pulling on them could reopen the cut. Keep the area clean and dry for the first 48 hours.

Butterfly stitches are great for cuts, but they can leave you with a cut that’s hard to clean and manage. Follow these care instructions to keep your butterfly stitch wound looking its best.

Butterfly stitches can be left in place for as long as 6 weeks during the healing process, so if you’re not sure whether it’s a good idea to remove them now, it probably is. Since they won’t come loose if they’re cut, however, trimming and pulling at them is unnecessary.

How to remove butterfly stitches

If your butterfly stitches are still in place after 12 days and you want them removed, you can soak them in a solution of 1/2 water and 1/2 peroxide. Gently lift them off of your skin.

The doctor at the University of North Carolina recommends that if these stitches get stuck in your skin and you’re unable to remove them, you should soak them in a solution of 1/2 water and 1/2 peroxide, gently pull them off, and dry the area before starting a new set of instructions.

If the butterflies are still in place after 12 days, a solution of 1/2 water and 1/2 peroxide can be used to soak them. This method should be done gently to avoid damaging your skin.

Butterfly stitches vs. sutures

Traditional stitches are the preferred option for wound closure in some circumstances. These include: large cuts, cuts that are gaping open, cuts that are on a curved area or an area that moves a lot, such as a joint, and cuts where fat (yellow) is exposed. Since sutures tend t  o heal more cleanly than butterfly stitches, they’re also commonly used for cuts on the face or other places where scarring might be a concern.

Butterfly stitches are smaller, easier to do and don’t require staples. In the event of large cuts or gaping wounds, butterfly stitches are a much more appropriate choice than sutures or staples.

Because butterfly stitches are often less damaging, they’re frequently used for cuts on the face, like cuts on the eyelids or lips. They can also be used for small wounds on joints. Suture closures tend to heal better than butterfly stitches in some cases, so if you have a wound around a joint like the knee or elbow, it’s likely a suture closure will heal better.

When to See your Doctor

If you’ve applied butterfly stitches, it’s important to keep track of how your injury is healing. If you have a wound that doesn’t stop bleeding, redness or swelling appears, or the cut becomes more painful and difficult to close, see your doctor.

If you’ve been stitched, it’s important for you to see your doctor as soon as possible. If the cut doesn’t stop bleeding and becomes red and painful, this is an indication that butterfly stitches aren’t working. As a result, it may be time to try something else.

If you’ve used butterfly stitches to close your cut, it’s important that you don’t delay coming in for follow-up with your primary care provider. Continued bleeding could be an indication that those butterfly stitches haven’t worked as well as they should. It’s also possible that the butterfly stitches are causing additional problems by letting bacteria into your wound and leading to infection.

The most important thing you can do when it comes to butterfly stitches is to follow directions. If you miss a day, or skip an appointment it could delay your healing process and risk infection. The sooner you get in to see your doctor the faster your recovery!

The takeaway

Butterfly stitches are used to close small cuts and scrapes. They’re long and narrow, like a butterfly, and they feel like they’re closing up with you. Butterflies reduce scarring and also help keep the wound clean.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.