Toxicity - Superglue (cyanoacrylate) used to cover cut skin.

  1. Ouabache

    Ouabache 1,324
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Steve Harris, M.D.

    The above doctor's quote suggests that Cyanoacrylate adhesives (Super Glue, Krazy Glue) may be used to cover cuts. He suggests that it is non-toxic, but I am skeptical.

    I heard of this before and wanted to recommend this to someone who cut their finger and plays a stringed instrument. Any musician who plays a stringed instrument knows how hard it is to play with a cut finger.

    Any toxicity to our body or adverse health effects?
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. brewnog

    brewnog 2,791
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I have used superglue a couple of times to stick together a guitar wound.

    It never did me any harm!*








    * Disclaimer: some may disagree with this.
     
  4. Moonbear

    Moonbear 12,265
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Just a quick two abstracts on the topic.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/...d&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=15837150&query_hl=1

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/...d&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=15854669&query_hl=1
     
  5. Working on engines is a recipe for cuts. I always seem to nick a knuckle or slice a thumb. I always keep CA available for this very reason. It works better at joining a wound than butterflys and leaves a smaller scar than stiches. I just cut my thumb pretty bad a few weeks back building a race engine for a motorcycle(Oil ring sliced my thumb) and I have nothing bit a thin white line on my thumb to show for it thanks to CA.

    My dad told me about this(mom's a nurse and keeps a tube of dermabond around too though krazy glue works just as well if not better) and I've been doing it for probably 20 years now. My dad did it since the 70's. While I myself can't speak with medical certainty that this will not do some perminant damage I can say this has been a shop trick in many places I've worked be it the Navy or for one of the Big three automakers. I guess it has the weight of voodoo science behind it.
     
  6. Ouabache

    Ouabache 1,324
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Brewnog and faust9 - thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences. Hmmmm Brewnog, did you use superglue to mend your guitar or your hand?

    Moonbear - nice job on abstracts!! It seems not all cyanoacrylates are created equally. Interesting to hear the medical community is taking serious look for cutaneous therapy.
     
  7. Moonbear

    Moonbear 12,265
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I can't say for certain if it was a cyanoacrylate, but I do know there is an adhesive available for bonding skin wounds.

    It seems the main issue is irritation more so than toxicity. I also know someone who used cyanoacrylates in the brain of sheep with no ill effects. There is a huge range of cyanoacrylates available though, many are two-part epoxy-like compounds (I looked into them pretty extensively about a year ago looking for one that might work for an experimental purpose, but couldn't find one of sufficient density :frown:). I was struck by the variety available. I think the only major concern I came across was the volatile compounds given off during the curing process, but if applied in a way that could dissipate quickly, it might not be an issue at all, especially given the rapid curing time and small amounts applied.
     
  8. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    I had to check my medicine cabinet to be sure, but Band-Aid "liquid bandages" are cyanoacrylate. I've used it a handful of times on geek wounds and it works great.
     
  9. brewnog

    brewnog 2,791
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    'Geek wounds'.

    Priceless. :biggrin:


    Oh, and ouabache, yes, my fingers. You can get some horrendoudly deep cuts if you play hard with light strings, it's like cheesewire.
     
  10. Moonbear

    Moonbear 12,265
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Geek wounds? :rofl: Are those the cuts you get when you smack your forehead on the bottom of the desk while you're untangling wires and trying to find an open outlet for the latest gadget?
     
  11. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    No, those are the cuts you get on your fingers when working inside a computer. Stamped metal parts have razor sharp edges.

    I once tried to pull a drive bay cover off by sticking my index finger in the index-finger sized hole in it (that's what it was for, right)? I didn't quite pull my finger-tip off - I'd say it only opened up about a third of the circumfrerence, down to the bone. Anyway, that was the first time I used the liquid bandage. You can't get stitches for that - the ER doc/nurse would laugh at you.
     
  12. Moonbear

    Moonbear 12,265
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    OUCH!!!!! Oh, I'm sure they've seen worse injuries for stranger reasons at the ER, especially if you were already living in the Philly area at the time. If people didn't do stupid things, they'd be out of a job. :tongue:

    Well, wait, now we can determine if it was a true "geek" injury...were you more concerned over the injury to your finger, or that you might have damaged the computer dripping blood onto it? :biggrin:
     
  13. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    Well, I was outside the case, so there wasn't much chance of dripping blood into the computer (though I left some skin in it). Things like that piss me off more than anything - I went and got a screwdriver to pry the cover off.
     
  14. DocToxyn

    DocToxyn 432
    Science Advisor

    As I've mentioned before in previous posts, toxicity is all about route of exposure and dose. As Moonbear said the nasties that are part of cyanoacrylate compounds are typically the solvents that evaporate upon curing. If you are "huffing" the superglue from some closed container, it will obviously be toxic, re. the labels stating not to intentionally concentrate and inhale vapors. Acute, localized dermal exposure for wound closure puposes, performed in a ventilated area, should not entail any significant risk, you're probably more at risk if you don't close the wound and thus increase your chance of infection.
     
  15. durmabond and surgery

    Hi all.

    I was doing some research on fixing dental partials when I ran across this forum. I can vouch for the usefullness of superglues and wounds since, in 2000 I donated a kidney to a cousin and, they sealed the skin closed with durmabond rather than with stiches. They stiched the muscles and everthing else blow the skin down to where the kidney was removed with stiches, but used the durmabond to make as little a scar as possible. They used the standard kidney removal technique on me which left a wound at least 10 to 12 inches long, it ran a few inches from my belly button and cuved around my left side up to a few inches from my spine. They also had to remove a rib to get the kidney out. so it was a major surgury. Some places now do micro surgury which leaves the patient with much smaller scars. I knew durmabond was ok for topical uses, but was not sure if it was ok for use on a dental partial, but it sounds like using super glue would be ok for such an application from what I have seen on the web. I of cource think I should wait until it cures before placing it in my mouth since, the fumes can have an effect on people. I think its similar to how arisol fumes can effect people, it may have something to due with robbing the brain of oxygen or something. I have an interest in physics and science, so I'll be checking out these forums again in the near future.

    Take Care
     
  16. Ouabache

    Ouabache 1,324
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    ernestmac, welcome to PF!! Thanks for sharing your experience using durmabond. I agree, you are wise to wait until the glue finishes curing, before putting the dental partial in your mouth. Yes, feel free to browse around the varied topics on our forum. You are bound to find some interesting discussions.
     
  17. Moonbear

    Moonbear 12,265
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Welcome to PF ernestmac! Wow, I'm pretty amazed that dermabond is strong enough to close that large of an incision, especially in the location you describe. I would have expected there would be too much tension on the wound for it to hold adequately without opening up.

    And, yes, it's the fumes from the superglue that would be most harmful, so until it is fully cured, leave it in a well-ventillated area.
     
  18. As I understand it, going and buying Krazy Glue is not a good alternative for a bandage since it contains ethyl cyanoacrylate. The ethyl component makes it toxic and you shouldn't use it anyway since the exact formula may produce heat during its bonding process.

    Use an n-butyl cyanoacrylate fomulated for medical applications rather than the tube of Superglue in your tool chest.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2011
  19. mgb_phys

    mgb_phys 8,952
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    A doctor friend was once talking about using superglue in wounds, the glue they have is marked as sterile . His point was that any bug that can live in cyanoacrylate is going to be unstoppable and will take over the world.
     
  20. It seems obvious that the compound should not be misused; However, as a guitarist myself, I have used it to close small dermal cuts. I worked in an electronics assembly shop where we used it to adhere rubber gaskets to polished aluminum, and obvious ended up getting it all over my skin. It is not toxic, in and of itself. Sterilization before allowing it to cure is the key, if you want to use it for dermal cuts.
    I cannot vouch as to the quality of the "Dollar Store" superglue, but it IS the SAME thing that is in "Liquid Skin."
    The industrial version of the stuff is just more toxic than medical grade.
    By the way, (this is shop talk advice) the only thing that will dissolve this stuff is Acetone (nail polish remover.) Paint thinner, gasoline or Isopropyl alcohol cannot get this stuff off of anything. There is an "Industrial Grade" product that is basically cyanoacrylate in different viscosities, used in electronic assembly shops.
    There is also a "Remover" compound marketed for industrial use that is basically a form of acetone. And that stuff barely will take it back off of highly polished aluminum.
    Remember that it "cures" by absorbing surrounding water molecules from the air to adhere.
    So it does not "dry." I find it fascinating that the same substance is used for wound closure internally! It really is an amazing invention.
    I find it fascinating that it can have medical as well as industrial uses!
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2011
  21. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    You realize that no one has responded to this thread for 2 years? That's ok, but this thread seems to have slipped through the cracks of what we allow due to a spammer resurrecting the thread.

    Also, we do not want to encourage people to superglue themselves together after an injury. Go to the doctor.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2011
Know someone interested in this topic? Share a link to this question via email, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?