PA PSRS Patient Saf Advis 2005 June;2(2):10.  
PA-PSRS Pointers: Watch Out for that Dermabond

PA-PSRS has received four reports of patients’ eyelids being inadvertently glued shut while Dermabond® was applied to facial lacerations. The following simple pointers are suggested to help prevent such occurrences: 

  • Placing dry gauze over the eyes when working in that area.
  • Positioning the wound so that any excess adhesive will not “run off” to sensitive areas of the face and head.
  • Initially crushing and inverting the Dermabond vial away from the patient.
  • Gently squeezing the vial until a drop forms at the applicator tip, so that when squeezing is stopped, the adhesive will be drawn back into the vial. Applying the adhesive with gentle, brushing strokes.
  • Avoiding the practice of dripping the adhesive from the end of the vial onto the patient.
  • Wiping away excessive adhesive immediately with a dry gauze pad. The adhesive becomes too hardened to wipe away in about 10 seconds. 

In the event that a patient’s eyelids do become glued shut, ophthalmic antibiotic ointment on the eyelids will usually break down the adhesive in one to two days. 

Source: Bruns TB, Worthington JM. Using tissue adhesive for wound repair: a practical guide to Dermabond. American Family Physician [online]. 2005 Mar 1 [cited 2005 Apr 1]. Available from Internet: http://www.aafp.org/afp/20000301/1383.html.

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