Surgical Tape Closures

Surgical skin tapes are not used on wounds that:

   1. Are under high skin stress, such as those over major joints
   2. Will become wet as a result of problems with hemostasis, perspiration, exudate, or ointment application
   3. Are infected
   4. Are surrounded by hair or skin abrasion
   5. Are irregular or over concave areas

Tapes should not be placed circumferentially around digits; digits should be wrapped in a semicircular or spiral fashion to prevent circulatory compromise. The tape should not be stretched during application because stretching the tape may result in excessive tension on the skin. Tape should be applied with only a small amount of tension to approximate wound edges.

Maintain hemostasis using direct pressure.

  1. Ensure a dry field.
  2. Apply a skin adhesive to the wound margins and the surrounding skin (optional). Allow the adhesive to dry and become tacky.
  3. Cut the tapes to the desired length. Remove the end tab from the paper backing of the strips.
  4. Remove a tape from the backing by pulling it straight back with forceps.

Fresh wound:
  1. Place the first tape at the middle of the wound on one side only. Approximate the wound edges as closely as possible (a second person may be required to assist), and apply the second half of the tape. Run your finger along the strip to help set the adhesive.
  2. Place additional tapes halfway between the previous tape and the wound edges. Continue to apply tapes until the wound is closed but not totally occluded.
  3. Place supporting tapes horizontally across the tapes, approximately 1 inch from the wound.
  4. Healing wound (after suture removal): Remove a few sutures at a time and replace them with tapes.
  5. If a tape needs to be repositioned after application, remove it by peeling both ends toward the wound.
  6. Apply an appropriate dressing. Do not use occlusive or adhesive bandages that encourage moisture formation.