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Staples

Staples are a tried and true method of quickly and efficiently closing lacerations.

These days, automatic stapling devices are commonplace in operating rooms, emergency departments, and urgent care settings.  They are easy to learn, fast to apply, and provide excellent relief of wound tension.

They probably aren’t the best for use when you are going for a highly cosmetic closure, as they do risk leaving unsightly marks at the points of entry adjacent to the laceration edges when removed.  For this reason, placement in less cosmetic areas and areas where the laceration will ultimately be hidden (eg the scalp, in a person with good hair coverage) are a perfect situation for use of staples.

Staples are indicated for relatively linear lacerations with well defined sharp wound margins.  Staples are relatively contraindicated for use on the face, neck, hands, and feet.  Also, though they are great for superficial scalp lacerations, be cautious when there is underlying separation of the galea fascia, which is best closed with deep sutures.

One word of advice: always bring a staple remover along with you when you set out to place the staples, for the inevitable occasional misfired staple that occurs!  It’s better to be ready in the moment than have to scramble to find it when you need it.

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