Adhesives are to be preferred to sutures for head wounds

Dr. Sonja Fontana

Universitäts-Kinderspital Zürich

Grazed knees, lacerations, cuts - all of this is part of being a child. Some of these injuries require medical attention and, if necessary, the wounds are sutured or treated with wound adhesive. However, what we do not really know is: What kind of scarring occurs in the long term for wounds treated with adhesive? 

Even though the treatment of wounds is part of everyday routine in all hospitals, the available literature provides insufficient evidence to answer this question. The research team led by the Zurich paediatrician therefore decided to carry out a comprehensive investigation into the long-term outcomes for wounds treated with adhesive and sutures in children in a research project.

The healing process in head wounds treated with adhesive and sutures was compared in a prospective cohort study with two groups and a total of 230 children. The assessment was carried out by plastic surgeons. Good aesthetic results for scarring and a low rate of complications were revealed in both groups after two follow-up appointments (after approx. one week and after 6 to 12 months). Skin adhesion was safe for the children, less traumatic, required less sedation, was less expensive, and took less time. It is therefore imperative that wound adhesion is considered, if not actually preferred to sutures in most situations. 

The results of this study are therefore of relevant, practical importance to wound treatment in paediatric accident and emergency departments and in paediatric medical practices.

A Prospective Controlled Study on Long-Term Outcomes of Facial Lacerations in Children. Sonja Fontana, Clemens M Schiestl, Markus A Landolt, Georg Staubli, Sara von Salis, Kathrin Neuhaus, Christoph Mohr, Julia Elrod. 
Front. Pediatr. 2021 Feb 12;8:616151. doi: 10.3389/fped.2020.616151.