Super Glue for Medical Applications: Understanding its Use

by Ahmet Emek on July 26, 2023

The medical field constantly evolves, embracing innovations that improve patient outcomes and enhance medical practices. One such groundbreaking development is the use of super glue for medical applications. Traditionally known for bonding objects in everyday life, super glue has found a remarkable niche in the medical world, revolutionizing wound closure, tissue bonding, and surgical procedures. In this article, we will explore the diverse applications of super glue in medicine, understand its mechanisms of action, and evaluate its benefits and limitations. So, let's dive into the fascinating world of super glue for medical applications!

super glue

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How Super Glue is Revolutionizing Medicine

Super glue, scientifically known as cyanoacrylate adhesive, was first discovered in the 1940s by Dr. Harry Coover while working on clear plastic gun sights. Its strong bonding properties were quickly recognized, and it became popular for various household and industrial applications. However, it was in the medical field that the true potential of super glue was unveiled.

The Role of Super Glue in Wound Closure

One of the most significant applications of super glue in medicine is wound closure. In minor lacerations and incisions, medical-grade cyanoacrylate adhesive can effectively replace traditional sutures and staples. Its quick-drying and high-strength properties allow for efficient wound closure, reducing the risk of infection and promoting faster healing.

Surgical Applications of Super Glue

Super glue has also found its way into the operating room, where it serves as a valuable adjunct to conventional sutures. During complex surgeries, such as cardiovascular procedures, neurosurgery, and organ transplants, super glue is used to reinforce suture lines, providing additional strength and stability to delicate tissues.

Understanding How Super Glue Works in the Body

To comprehend how super glue functions in the body, it's essential to understand its chemical composition and reaction with bodily tissues.

The Chemical Composition of Super Glue

Medical-grade cyanoacrylate adhesive is derived from ethyl cyanoacrylate, which polymerizes rapidly upon contact with moisture, such as water or blood. The polymerization process generates heat, facilitating the quick-setting property of the adhesive.

Tissue Interaction and Biocompatibility

Super glue creates a strong bond by adhering to the proteins present in bodily tissues. While the initial heat produced during polymerization can cause mild tissue irritation, medical-grade cyanoacrylate adhesives are designed to be biocompatible, minimizing adverse reactions and ensuring safe usage within the body.

Advantages of Super Glue in Medical Settings

The integration of super glue in medical applications offers several advantages, making it an attractive option for healthcare professionals.

Faster Wound Closure

Compared to traditional sutures or staples, super glue allows for faster wound closure. Its quick-drying properties enable medical practitioners to complete procedures more efficiently, ultimately reducing patient discomfort and surgical time.

Minimizing Scarring and Improved Cosmesis

Super glue provides an excellent cosmetic outcome by creating a uniform and neat closure. The adhesive's thin application minimizes scarring and allows for a more aesthetically pleasing result, particularly in visible areas of the body.

Lower Infection Risk

The airtight seal formed by super glue over the wound reduces the risk of infection, as it acts as a barrier against external pathogens. Additionally, its quick application decreases the time a wound is left exposed.

Limitations and Precautions

While super glue offers significant advantages, certain limitations and precautions must be considered when using it in medical settings.

Not Suitable for All Wounds

Super glue is not appropriate for all types of wounds. Deep or highly contaminated wounds may not benefit from adhesive closure, requiring conventional sutures or other specialized techniques.

Allergy Potential

Although medical-grade cyanoacrylate adhesives are designed to be biocompatible, some individuals may develop allergic reactions to the adhesive. Healthcare providers must be vigilant in identifying potential allergies and have alternative wound closure options available.

Non-Dissolvable and Difficult to Remove

Unlike traditional sutures, super glue is non-dissolvable and requires natural sloughing off over time. In cases where removal is necessary, it can be a challenging process, potentially causing tissue damage.

super glue


Can Super Glue Be Used for All Wound Types?

Super glue is most suitable for minor lacerations and incisions that do not involve highly contaminated or deep wounds. In these cases, it offers a quick and efficient closure method.

Is Super Glue Safe for Internal Use?

Medical-grade cyanoacrylate adhesives are designed to be biocompatible and safe for internal use in surgical settings, where they provide additional reinforcement to sutures.

How Long Does Super Glue Stay on a Wound?

Super glue remains on the wound until it naturally sloughs off, which can take around 5 to 10 days, depending on the individual's healing process.

Can Super Glue Replace Stitches?

In many cases, super glue can effectively replace traditional stitches, especially for smaller wounds that do not require intricate closure.

Are There Any Side Effects of Using Super Glue on Wounds?

While rare, some individuals may experience mild irritation or allergic reactions to super glue. However, medical-grade adhesives are generally well-tolerated.

How Should I Store Medical-Grade Super Glue?

To maintain the effectiveness of medical-grade super glue, it should be stored in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight and moisture.


Super glue's journey from household tool to a medical marvel is a testament to human ingenuity and adaptability. In medical applications, this adhesive has proved to be a game-changer, offering faster wound closure, improved cosmesis, and lower infection risk. While it is not a one-size-fits-all solution, super glue's unique properties have carved out a valuable place in modern medicine. As advancements in medical adhesives continue, we can expect even more exciting possibilities in the realm of medical applications.


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