A Review of the Zipstitch System For Small Lacerations

Samantha BiggersSamantha Biggers | Updated Jul 1, 2019 (Orig - Feb 18, 2019)

 

 

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No matter how careful you are, there may come a time when you find yourself or someone close to you in a situation where they get a laceration that needs attention beyond the basic band-aid.

While butterfly and SteriStrips are commonly available, they don’t have the staying power that many minor to moderate wounds require.

Combating the problems associated with minor and moderate lacerations can be challenging.

The Disadvantages Of Stitches

People tend to automatically think that they need stitches. While stitches can help, they have their disadvantages such as:

  • Scarring
  • Infection
  • Irritation
  • Pain
  • Removal pain
  • Expense
  • Emotional trauma
  • Experience required for a good result

Stitches should only be used in have to cases. If you only get a stitch to two when you go to the doctor, then it is probably something that could have been dealt with at home using butterfly bandages, SteriStrips or a device like Zipstitch.

Zipstitch can cut medical costs

In many cases, ZipStitch can save you a substantial amount of time and money. That was just for a single shot of medicine. When a nurse has to stitch you up and you have a high deductible or no insurance at all, it can be a lot of money that you might not have.  If you actually have to go to a real emergency room and not a walk-in clinic, you don’t even want to know what type of bill you are going to get.

Scarring can affect someone’s life more than you might think

Scars can be very expensive and time consuming to fade or remove. Stitches, especially if not done well, can lead to major scars. For example, if someone doesn’t know what they are doing and stitches too tightly, bunching up the skin, someone may have a prominent ridge of skin and a very visible scar where the laceration occurred.

Stitches often require a professional. Sewing someone up the wrong way can cause a lot of complications.

This means that you need to practice ahead of time and even if you do that is not going to prepare you to use a needle quickly and efficiently under times of stress. Those that have little or no experience sewing up wounds are more likely to make a mistake that results in a needle stick injury to the patient or themselves.

Stitches require a needle to pierce perfectly healthy skin which can contribute to bacteria forming in the wound.  During a long term emergency, it may be hard at times to practice the level of wound care that one would like. Zipstich reduces the chances of complications and is less painful than stitches.

During SHTF, medical help and supplies may be hard or impossible to find.

During a major situation, you need to be ready to be your own first responder. If everyone in the family or group has that attitude and watches out for one another, the chances of survival are increased for everyone. Lacerations and associated bleeding can be very scary and traumatizing to everyone even if the injury itself is in all reality minor to moderate. If someone is already stressed out due to the overwhelming circumstances they have been facing, it can be hard to act quickly. This means you need to have medical supplies that are fast and easy to use.

Puncture wounds vs. lacerations

It is important to remember that puncture wounds can be very deep and damaging. If a puncture wound is very deep there may be other issues that must be dealt with for the health of the patient. Anything more than a light penetration should be looked at by a medical professional if at all possible.

What is Zipstitch?

Zipstitch is a game-changing method for closing wounds. While the technology has been used for quite some time in hospitals, it is now available to the public. Zipstitch is only recommended for use on minor cuts and lacerations according to the manufacturer. Of course in a more serious emergency situation you are going to use what you have but at your own risk.

Zipstitch uses zip tie technology and a strong waterproof adhesive to allow people to treat smaller cuts at home without an expensive and time-consuming trip to the ER or walk-in clinic. Even those with no medical experience at all can use Zipstitch.

What is included?

Each Zipstitch pack contains the following:

1 Zipstitch

1 Alcohol Wipe

1 Gauze

1 Bandage

Cost

Retail Price: $29.99

While this may seem like a lot for something so small, you really need to remember how much your last emergency visit cost. Zipstitch offers those with no medical experience an affordable option for dealing with a common small emergency.

Zipstitch adheres to the skin using an advanced hydrocolloid skin adhesive. The zip straps adjust so you can get good closure. The force required to close the wound is distributed over a wider area so there are lower tension levels than with tradition stitches. This helps facilitate healing of the wound.

Before and after photos of Zipstitch being used on a laceration. Photos provided by Zipstitch

The Ham Test

Matt and I wanted to find something that was close to human flesh so we got a ham to simulate a real-life laceration or wound. The ham was cold when we used the ZipStitch on it. I think it would have been a better test if I had allowed it to get a bit warm.

The Zipstitch was was easy to use but I want to emphasize how important it is to make sure that the area around the wound is dry. You need to staunch the bleeding as much as possible before using this. The glue will not stick well if you have a lot of moisture or it may not stick at all.

The wound was made using a CRKT M-16 series knife. The result was a bit jagged. We wanted to use a common style of everyday carry knife to see what ZipStitch could do to help!

The gauze pad that is included can be used if necessary to absorb some moisture if that is all you have. Keep in mind that Zipstitch is designed to be used after you have taken measures to control bleeding. Pressure or blood stop powder could be used but you need to be sure that there is no residue or moisture left that can affect how well ZipStitch sticks to the skin.

To use the Zipstitch you remove the adhesive backing. Obviously, I would use gloves if at all possible if performing this task on human and not something I am going to cook later. The Zipstitch is centered over the wound for best results. Press down firmly when everything is lined up right. You want to be sure that you have everything lined up just so before you press. The adhesive is very strong.

Remove the while film shown in the picture by gently peeling and discard.

Pull the “Zip ties” in to close the wound. You can do this a little at a time. Remember that once pulled, you can only go forward just like with a regular old zip tie. I found it useful to press lightly on the side of the ZipStitch when pulling the Zips closed. The adhesive is very strong so you don’t have to worry about it coming loose or sliding too much as long as you remembered to properly dry the wound and control the bleeding.

The extra part of the Zip is trimmed after the wound is closed. At this point, you can place a bandage over the laceration to keep out dirt and germs as well as offer further protection from reinjury during healing time. Your ZipStitch comes with a bandage that is sized to perfectly fit over this size of Zipstitch.

Zipstitch is strong

Ripping out a stitch or two means yet another trip to the doctor and the resulting fees and time lost. If you rip out stitches, you have a longer healing time ahead of you. Zipstitch has 12x the holding strength of stitches so there is less of a chance of any failure.

What about bigger cuts and lacerations?

The Zipstitch you get when you order is small and made for minor injuries. Medical personnel have access to bigger versions of ZipStitch so they can be used for surgery where the wound is very large. As far as I can tell these are not available to the public. While you must do what you can in an emergency, trying to take on too large of a laceration just to avoid going to the doctor is not something any company can encourage. At the same time, I hope this situation relaxes because I would not mind having a Zipstitch system that was about twice as long as the one currently offered. The one that is available definitely does the job for small lacerations but for SHTF I might need to just use two to close up a larger wound. Although it would be $60 if I used two Zipstitches, that is nothing when it comes to getting someone over a major laceration.

On treating major wounds yourself

For larger wounds, actual stitches may be needed if SteriStrips cannot be used. Remember that major bleeding must be controlled immediately. In addition to Zipstitch, SteriStrips, and sutures, you should have a few tourniquets and some blood stop powder in your trauma kit. We go as far as keeping Isreali Battle Dressings to stop bleeding of very major wounds.

Even if you are going to let the hospital take care of someone, controlling the bleeding is your job until you can get more help.

Always get major wounds treated right away by trained medical professionals.

Conclusion

Zipstitch offers a cost-effective alternative to a doctor’s visit. On a weekend if you have to take someone to the ER, the wait time and resulting fees can be devastating.

Zipstitch is a nice system to have on hand for a variety of everyday activities. It is very small and compact so you could easily throw a Zipstitch and dressing in a small medical kit in your everyday carry bag.

Family camping trips and hikes in remote areas mean you should have a way of dealing with lacerations quickly. Some of you reading this have kids that play sports or you may be a member of a league or gym. Zipstitch could be good to have in case you get injured or someone on the team does.

Due to the cost of Zipstitch, I would be careful and only use it when really necessary. Cuts can be scary but a lot of the ones that we experience every day can be treated with a blood stop band-aid or SteriStrips. At least when that is not enough, we do have Zipstitch to fill the gap. I expect you will see more doctors using this system since it is better for everyone overall since it reduces the number of visits required for wound treatment and the level of pain the patient experiences while minimizing any scarring.

Have you used Zipstitch before? What was your experience? Any tips for dealing with lacerations?

Samantha Biggers can be reached at [email protected].

Editors Note: For a generous 20% off on ZipStitch products, use the coupon code: Backdoor20

 

 

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Updated Jul 1, 2019
Published Feb 18, 2019

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6 Responses to “A Review of the Zipstitch System For Small Lacerations”

  1. When using Steri-strips, I have found that applying Tincture of Benzoin on the edges of the wound with a Q tip, help the glue to adhere.

    Reply
  2. THANK YOU!
    I had just placed an order for this product on Sunday and was able to cancel it in time and re-order with your discount. You just helped me make big strides in filling my severe bleeding preps shortfall and be able to put the savings towards another prep need.

    Reply
  3. Zipstitch looks like a good product but you might want to take a look at 3m Steri-Strip as a more economical alternative for those that can’t afford the zipstitch product for each vehicle first aid kit and backpack.

    Reply
  4. What is the shelf life of the adhesive? Living on the high desert, tapes don’t last too long.

    Reply
  5. I wouldn’t waste my money using this product to close small wounds, when steri strips are readily available and less expensive. It would appear this product would be more useful for ‘medium sized’ wounds, where stitches would be appropriate but not expedient or no one has knowledge of stitching. But the size doesn’t appear good for that either.

    I’m glad you addressed the issue of puncture vs incision/tear wounds, as they should be treated differently.

    All would be well advised to take a basic first aid class (and obtain further training) to know how to treat different types of wounds.

    This seems like a neat thing to have, but the price point and limited usefulness turns me off. Let me know if you hear of the larger products become available to the public.

    Sorry, I am a retired ER nurse.

    Reply
  6. I went through a windshield in high school and had years of plastic surgery.
    The plastic surgeon told us to cut strips of roll gauze (has a matrix structure) and lay them over the wound like Steri-Strips and use collodian to glue down opposing ends and then pull the others to provide tension to support the scars to keep them from stretching beyond his scalpel cuts.

    It works fine but use in a ventilated area like Testor’s Glue it could get you high if smelled enough.

    Reply

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