Laceration of an Arm or Leg: Skin Glue

A laceration is a cut through the skin. You have a laceration that has been closed with skin glue. This is used on cuts that have smooth edges that can easily be brought back together and are not infected. It's best used on straight, clean cuts on areas that don't get a lot of tension.

You may need a tetanus shot. This is given if you have no record of a shot, and the object that caused the cut may lead to tetanus.

Home care

  • Follow all instructions for taking any medicines prescribed.

    • Your healthcare provider may prescribe an antibiotic. This is to help prevent infection. Take the medicine every day until it's gone or you are told to stop. You should not have any left over.

    • Your healthcare provider may prescribe medicines for pain.

  • Follow the healthcare provider’s instructions on how to care for the cut.

  • Don't cover the cut with a bandage. No bandage is needed. Skin glue peels off on its own within 5 to 10 days. Most skin wounds heal within 10 days.

  • Keep the wound clean. You may shower or bathe as usual, but don't use soaps, lotions, or ointments on the wound area. These may dissolve the glue too soon. Don't scrub the wound. After bathing, pat the wound dry with a soft towel.

  • Don't scratch, rub, or pick at the film. Don't place tape directly over the film.

  • Don't put liquids such as peroxide, ointments, or creams on the wound while the skin glue is in place. Many oil based products can weaken and dissolve the glue.

  • Don't do any activities that may reinjure your wound.

  • Don't do any activities that cause heavy sweating. Protect the wound from sunlight.

  • Most skin wounds heal without problems. But an infection sometimes occurs even with proper treatment. Watch for the signs of infection listed below.

Follow-up care

Follow up as directed with your healthcare provider, or as advised.

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Wound bleeding is not controlled by direct pressure

  • Signs of infection, including increasing pain in the wound, increasing wound redness or swelling, or pus or bad odor coming from the wound

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38.ºC) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Wound edges reopens

  • Wound color changes

  • Numbness around the wound 

  • Decreased movement around the injured area

© 2000-2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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