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Superglue, safe or liquid death?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Josh Ryan, May 7, 2001.


  1. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    I have heard that people use superglue to close small cuts and repair calluses. I tried this myself, and it works great. The thing is, I don't want to poison myself, give myself kidney failure, or develop cancer. Is superglue safe (aside from gluing body parts together unintentionally) or am I an idiot for even asking?
     
  2. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i've heard it used before, and i've not heard of any ill effects, but i think the person to ask would be a dermatologist.
     
  3. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    It's never bothered me and a couple of double bassists I know.

    Plus, the super glues weren't invented to be household adhesives. They were created to close up smaller incisions made by doctors/surgeons.
     
  4. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Cool, thanks guys. I'll glue away without fear of toxic repercussions! Actually, I don't need it often, but occasionally it can be a life saver. (I'm talking two or three times a year.)
     
  5. jazzbo

    jazzbo

    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Our good Dr. Mike posted in another thread, I think it was Pacman's thread, about the dangers of using super glue. I can't seem to find it right now, so hopefully Doc Mike will show up and be gracious enough to repost that. I don't remember exactly what he said, but I believe he was against it.
     
  6. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    jazzbo - I can't remember either. There is such a thing as a "medical grade" super glue, and there is another one called Dermabond that is for cuts, blisters, etc.
     
  7. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    I was talking about the regular crap you buy off the shelf, you know, the guy hanging by a helmet from a building type stuff. Is that stuff different?
     
  8. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Bliss - All I have for a frame of reference is my experience and that of a couple of others. The three of us had no adverse reactions to the stuff from the check out lane.

    But, to be on the safe side, I'd advise looking for the stuff in the first-aid sections. Some toxic reactions have been reported using the hardware grade. I'd feel awful if you came back and said you now have tissue necrosis from using the kind for household repair.
     
  9. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Ok, I'd feel awful if I got tissue necrosis too! I'll buy a bottle from first aid section. Thanks for the advice!
     
  10. mikemulcahy

    mikemulcahy

    Jun 13, 2000
    The Abyss
    Here is what you are looking for. All the info you will ever need and then some!!!


    For several years there has been increasing interest in the midwifery community regarding the use of commonly available "Super Glue" types of adhesives for wound closure. Midwives who have done a little research have found that the cyanoacrylate glue (Super Glue) sold over-the-counter and medical cyanoacrylate glues are apparently identical in composition and rumored to the be same as the tissue adhesive used extensively during the Vietnam War. Some midwives have even used over-the-counter Super Glue (Krazy Glue) successfully in lieu of suture to close the perineum.

    In readying in the 5th edition of Healing Passage: A Midwife's Guide to the Care and Repair of the Tissues Involved in Birth, I felt it was important to address this issue. This article offers an expanded version of the information you will also find in the new edition.

    History and development:

    In 1959, a variety of cyanoacrylate adhesives were developed, some types of which are now used for surgical purposes in Canada and Europe. These glues polymerize on contact with basic substances such as water or blood to form a strong bond. The first glue developed was methyl cyanoacrylate, which was studied extensively for its potential medical applications and was rejected due to its potential tissue toxicity such as inflammation or local foreign body reactions. Methyl alcohol has a short molecular chain which contributes to these complications.

    Further research revealed that by changing the type of alcohol in the compound to one with a longer molecular chain, the tissue toxicity was much reduced. All the medical grade tissue adhesives currently available for human use contain butyl-esters, which are costlier to produce.

    In 1964, the Tennessee Eastman lab submitted its first application for new drug approval to the FDA. The military learned of this new glue and became extremely interested in its potential for use in field hospitals. MASH units in Vietnam were overloaded. Many solders were dying from chest and abdominal wounds, despite the best efforts of medics. In 1966 a special surgical team was flown to Vietnam, trained and equipped to use cyanoacrylate adhesive. A quick spray over the wounds stopped bleeding and bought time until conventional surgery could be performed. The possibilities were immediately seized by the medical communities of Europe and the Far East. Meanwhile the FDA changed standards and kept requesting additional data until Eastman was reluctantly forced to withdraw his application.

    Histoacryl Blue (n-butyl cyanoacrylate) has been used extensively in Europe since the 1970s for a variety of surgical applications including middle ear surgery, bone and cartilage grafts, repair of cerebrospinal fluid leaks, and skin closure. It has been available in Canada through Davis & Geck Canada, with no adverse effects reported to date. Further, laboratory studies have been done which concluded that it has no carcinogenic potential. Tissue toxicity has only been noted when the adhesive is introduced deep in highly vascular areas (the perineum qualifies). While I always take claims of harmlessness with a grain of salt, if used as directed, these adhesives appear to be basically safe.

    Current use: Although not labeled as such, over-the-counter Super Glue products contain methyl alcohol, because it is inexpensive to produce. Cyanoacrylates cure by a chemical reaction called polymerization, which produces heat. Methyl alcohol has a pronounced heating action when it contacts tissue and may even produce burns if the glue contacts a large enough area of tissue. Rapid curing may also lead to tissue necrosis. Midwives have not noted such reactions because minimal amounts are being used for perineal repair. Nevertheless, with a greater toxic potential, over-the-counter products are inappropriate for use in wound closure.

    Medical grade products currently available contain either butyl, isobutyl or octyl esters. They are bacteriostatic and painless to apply when used as directed, produce minimal thermal reaction when applied to dry skin and break down harmlessly in tissue. They are essentially inert once dry. Butyl products are rigid when dry, but provide a strong bond. Available octyl products are more flexible when dry, but produce a weaker bond.
     
  11. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    So, to sum up, use as little as possible and stick to medical grade? Am I getting this? We should look for butyl, isobutyl or octyl esters when we buy this stuff?
     
  12. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    thanks very much for all the info, BTW.
     
  13. mikemulcahy

    mikemulcahy

    Jun 13, 2000
    The Abyss
    Thats right Bliss, but as an aside, be sure to cleans the area before applying (IMHO i wouldnt recommend for the lay person). Otherwise you may be sealing bacteria in the area and thereby breeding a nice infection.

    If you feel that you must use these products, please be very careful.


    Mike
     
  14. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    thanks, I will be careful. I'll only use it maybe two or three times in a year. I get dry skin on my hands in the dry winter air, and sometimes the skin actually splits under the fingernail. This is VERY distracting when I try to play. I generally just leave it alone, but if I have a show where the band has a long set, I'll need it. I'll use an alcohol swab first to clean the finger off. Thanks again!
     
  15. local foreign body reactions?! hehehe it may make perfect sense to those of you whom are well-educated in these fields, but I, a high school student in the U.S., find that amusing. Local Foreign body reactions.. hehehehe :D

    (sorry.. I feel dumber now! hehe)
     
  16. CamMcIntyre

    CamMcIntyre

    Jun 6, 2000
    USA
    kickinballs-don't feel lonely i'm in the U.S 1 more month till high school so i'm still a middle school kid & get the same kicks. :D
     
  17. mikemulcahy

    mikemulcahy

    Jun 13, 2000
    The Abyss
    Ok ukickmeintheballs, what it means is a reaction that it localized to a specific area of the body, such as swelling, redness, ect... as opposed to a more global reaction such as anaphylaxis which is a major reaction that affects breathing and cardiac function.

    Does that help?

    Mike