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Did Super Glue Originate as a Medical Staple?

Hey there! Did you know that Super Glue might have been invented for medical purposes? Find out more!

Did Super Glue Originate as a Medical Staple?

Was Superglue Invented for Wounds?

Cyanoacrylate adhesives, commonly known as superglue, have been a staple in many households and workplaces for decades. The sticky substance has a wide range of uses, from fixing broken ceramics to attaching car side mirrors, and even closing wounds. However, many people wonder whether superglue was invented with medical purposes in mind. In this article, we will delve into the history of superglue and explore its medical uses.

Origins of Superglue

The story of superglue dates back to 1942, during World War II. Dr. Harry Coover, a chemist working for Eastman Kodak, was part of a team researching clear plastics to be used as gun sights. During their experiments, they stumbled upon a substance that was too sticky to use as a plastic. However, Dr. Coover saw the potential of the substance as an adhesive and filed a patent for it in 1951. The substance was named cyanoacrylate, and the brand "Superglue" was born.

Medical Use of Superglue

In the early 1960s, Dr. Coover - the same person who discovered superglue - had a moment of realization. While in the operating room, he noticed how difficult it was for surgeons to close wounds using traditional methods such as stitches or staples. This led him to explore the idea of using cyanoacrylate as a medical adhesive. It wasn't long before his idea became a reality, and the first medical-grade superglue was introduced to the market.

Effectiveness of Superglue in Wound Closure

The question remains: is superglue effective in closing wounds? For certain types of wounds, the answer is a resounding yes. Studies have shown that for small cuts or incisions, superglue can be just as effective as traditional stitches or staples. It works by bonding with the skin proteins, creating a water-resistant seal that helps the wound heal faster. Moreover, using superglue for wound closure is quicker and less painful than traditional methods, since there are no needles involved.

However, it's important to note that superglue should not be used for all types of wounds. Large or deep wounds, or those that are infected, require specialized medical attention. Additionally, while superglue can be easily purchased in stores, medical-grade superglue should only be used by trained medical professionals.

In conclusion, while superglue was not originally invented for medical purposes, it has proven to be a valuable tool in the field of medicine. Its effectiveness in wound closure has led to its widespread use in many hospitals and clinics around the world. That being said, it's important to use superglue responsibly and only in appropriate situations - when in doubt, always consult a medical professional.

Types of Superglue Used for Wounds

Superglue, also known as cyanoacrylate adhesive, is a popular household product that is used for a variety of purposes. One such use that many people may be familiar with is for closing wounds. However, the question remains – was superglue actually invented for wounds?

The answer to this question is no. Superglue was not intentionally invented for wound closure. In fact, it was first discovered by accident in 1942 by Dr. Harry Coover while he was working on developing clear plastic gun sights for World War II. However, its ability to bond quickly and strongly led to its use in a variety of other areas, including medicine.

Medical Grade Superglue

While superglue was not originally intended for medical use, medical grade cyanoacrylate adhesives have been specifically designed and formulated for use in the medical field, and are approved by the FDA for use as a wound adhesive. Medical grade superglue is sterilized and has been found to be effective in closing certain types of wounds.

Medical grade superglue works by creating a strong bond between the edges of the wound, which helps to promote healing. It is commonly used for smaller wounds that would typically be treated with sutures or staples, such as cuts or lacerations on the face, scalp, or limbs. This type of superglue can be applied with a special applicator that allows for precise placement, and dries within minutes.

One advantage of using medical grade superglue is that it does not require removal, as it will naturally slough off as the wound heals. This can be more convenient for patients, as they do not need to return to the doctor for suture or staple removal.

Household Superglue

While medical grade superglue has been specifically formulated for use in the medical field, some people may be tempted to use regular household superglue for wound closure. However, this is not recommended due to the risk of toxicity and irritation.

Household superglue is not sterilized and may contain impurities that can lead to adverse reactions when applied to the skin. It is also not formulated to be used on wounds, and may not adhere properly or provide enough strength to properly close the wound.

If you have a wound that requires closure, it is important to seek medical attention and use the appropriate materials to ensure that the wound is properly treated and healed.

Alternative Wound Closure Methods

In addition to sutures, staples, and superglue, there are other options for closing wounds, such as adhesive strips or tapes, and advanced wound closure devices.

Adhesive strips or tapes can be effective for small, superficial wounds that do not require strong wound closure. They are easy to apply and do not require special equipment, making them a convenient option for many patients.

Advanced wound closure devices, such as skin staplers or tissue adhesives, may be used in more complex wounds or those that require more strength for proper closure. However, these methods often require special training and equipment, and may only be available in certain medical settings.

Ultimately, the choice of wound closure method will depend on the type and severity of the wound, as well as the patient's overall health and medical history. It is important to seek medical attention for any wound that requires closure, and to follow your doctor's instructions for proper wound care and healing.

Was Superglue Invented for Wounds?

Superglue is a household item commonly used for bonding and fixing things. However, its use in wound closure has been a topic of debate for several years. In this article, we'll explore the origin of using superglue for wounds and the benefits and risks associated with its use.

Superglue and Its Origin

The cyanoacrylate adhesive that we commonly know as superglue was first discovered in 1942 by Harry Coover. It was originally intended to be a transparent plastic gun sight for soldiers but was later developed into a strong adhesive. Although the use of superglue for closing wounds was not initially its intended purpose, this alternative medical practice has been in use for several decades. In the 1960s, surgeons started using superglue to close wounds during the Vietnam War. It was used as a way to stop bleeding quickly and to keep the wounds closed until they could be treated with sutures.

As years went by, more people started using superglue for closing wounds outside of hospitals, especially for small cuts and lacerations. However, the safety and effectiveness of using superglue on wounds are still debated today.

Benefits and Risks of Using Superglue for Wounds


The use of superglue for wound closure can have several potential benefits:

  • Faster healing times: Using superglue can promote a faster healing process. Since the wound is closed immediately, the risk of infection is reduced, which leads to quicker healing.
  • Reduced risk of scarring: Superglue leaves behind a thin, protective film that helps promote skin healing and, in some cases, can reduce the likelihood of scarring.
  • Lower cost: Superglue is much cheaper than traditional wound closure methods like sutures, staples, or stitches.


However, the use of superglue for wound closure also has some risks:

  • Risk of infection: If the wound is not cleaned thoroughly before applying superglue, it can lead to an increased risk of infection.
  • Allergic reactions: Some people may have an allergic reaction to the cyanoacrylate in superglue. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include redness, swelling, itching, or a rash.
  • Improper wound closure: Applying superglue to a wound that is too large, deep, or gaping can lead to improper wound closure. This can cause complications like delayed healing, increased risk of infection, and scarring.

When to Seek Professional Help

It's important to know when to seek professional medical help for wounds, especially if the wound is deep, large, or bleeding heavily, or if there are signs of infection or other complications. Seek prompt medical attention if:

  • The wound is deep and exposing bone, muscle, or tendons.
  • The wound is longer than one inch.
  • The wound is on the face, neck, or genital area.
  • The wound is caused by an animal or human bite.
  • The wound is bleeding heavily or does not stop bleeding.
  • The wound is showing signs of infection such as redness, pus, or increased pain.

In summary, the use of superglue for wound closure has both pros and cons. Its benefits include faster healing times, reduced scarring, and lower costs. However, the risks of infection, allergic reactions, and improper wound closure must also be considered. Before using superglue on a wound, it's important to consult with a medical professional to determine if it's the best approach.

Can Superglue Be Used for Wounds?

History of Superglue

Superglue, also known as cyanoacrylate adhesive, was first developed for industrial use in the 1940s. It wasn't until the 1950s that it became commercially available as a household adhesive. In the 1960s, during the Vietnam War, some physicians used a form of superglue to seal wounds on soldiers in the field.

Superglue as Wound Closure

Superglue’s potential for wound closure was first discovered by accident. In 1980, a plastic surgeon was using cyanoacrylate adhesive to hold a surgical incision closed. He noticed that the glue created a strong, waterproof bond that lasted for days and helped the wound heal faster. Seeing the potential for its use in wound care, medical-grade cyanoacrylate adhesives were developed and approved by the FDA for use in the 1990s.

Benefits of Superglue in Wound Care

One of the main benefits of using superglue for wound closure is its ability to form a strong bond quickly. This helps to prevent bleeding, reduce scarring, and allow the wound to heal faster. In addition, superglue is waterproof, which can be especially beneficial when caring for wounds on joints or other areas of the body that are exposed to moisture.

Risks of Using Superglue for Wounds

While cyanoacrylate adhesive can be a safe and effective option for certain types of wounds, it's important to use only medical grade products. Household superglue should never be used for wound closure as it can cause irritation, allergic reactions, and even tissue damage. In addition, not all wounds are suitable for superglue closure. Deep wounds, puncture wounds, and wounds that are infected or have a high risk of infection should be treated by a medical professional.

Proper Use and Application of Superglue for Wounds

If a medical-grade cyanoacrylate adhesive is the recommended treatment option for your wound, it's important to follow proper wound care guidelines. This includes cleaning the wound thoroughly, ensuring that the wound edges are properly aligned, and applying a thin layer of the adhesive across the wound. It's important to allow the adhesive to dry fully before covering the wound with a sterile dressing.


Superglue was not originally invented for medical use, but was later discovered to be useful for wound closure. However, it's important to use only medical grade cyanoacrylate adhesives and to follow proper wound care guidelines. While supreglue may be a viable option for certain types of wounds, it's always best to consult with a medical professional for proper wound care and treatment.

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