How to Remove Tissue Adhesive

Written by martha adams
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How to Remove Tissue Adhesive
Tissue adhesives can close wounds without sutures. (Dynamic Graphics Group/Dynamic Graphics Group/Getty Images)

Tissue adhesive is a medical-grade cyanoacrylate glue, a form of the familiar commercial Super Glue or Krazy Glue. It is used to seal cuts and surgical incisions without sutures. Human and animal tissues are being literally glued back together, especially in the fields of emergency medicine, plastic surgery and eye surgery. Non-absorbable sutures have to be removed after healing, which means another visit to the physician's office. Evenabsorbable sutures don't always dissolve fully. The good news about tissue adhesive is that it comes off all by itself, usually in a week or so.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Acetone
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Water

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  1. 1

    Dissolve tissue adhesive with acetone.A ready household source of this is an acetone-based nail polish remover.

  2. 2

    Soak tissue adhesive off with water. This will not affect the glue, but it will soften the skin it is bonded to and allow gentle peeling away of the hardened adhesive.

  3. 3

    Loosen the tissue adhesive by massaging the area gently with petroleum jelly or any ointment with a petrolatum base, such as an over-the-counter antibiotic salve.

  4. 4

    Allow an animal patient to lick any remnants of tissue adhesive if it is accessible. Saliva will soften the glue and steady licking will sweep it away.

Tips and warnings

  • Be careful not to cause damage to tender, new-healed tissue when removing a tissue adhesive by any means. Acetone is not readily absorbed through the skin, but contact with the eyes as a liquid or vapour can cause corneal clouding. Pulling at a fresh scar, even when it is wet or oiled, can cause tearing.

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