Friday, March 03, 2006


Steri-Strips (Steristrips) are a nifty skin-closure product produced by the inovative 3M company. They have been comonly used to hold incisions together after surgery for many years now. Interestingly enough, there is not a lot of information on the web about the product. Evidently, the manufacturer and doctors assume that everyone knows exactly how to deal with the strips after surgery. Not quite so cut and dry. My surgen, Dr. Brown, gave me a paper indicating that the strips should come off after about 7 days. That was it.

I went to pull them off, but could not get them to pull away from my skin. I called the surgen, but got useless instructions about them - "they can come off in 7 days". So I went searching on the internet... not much usefull there either. So... I'm going to post my best recomendation, based on my experience, on how to deal with removing the strips:

1. Don't try to remove them until the time when your doctor says that you can, (3M recomends 7 - 14 days) and when you can get your wound wet.
2. Moisten the strips with warm water.
3. Pull carfully at the edges. Odds are, that you wont be able to pull very far.
4. Stop, take a scisor and cut off whatever part of the strips that are loose.
5. Wait till next day.
6. Repeat steps 2 through 5 until you have removed the strips entirely.
7. You will probably be left with some of the 3M glue stuff stuck to your skin. If so, you can remove the glue carefully with a cue-tip swab & rubbing alcohol.
8. The skin around the incision was still sore when I was trying to remove the glue, so I took several days to get it all off.

To anyone trying to remove Steri-Strips from their wound, take your time and don't let anyone try to pull them off for you!


Sir-eats-a-lot said...

I have Neurofibromatosis (NF1 version) and from time to time I get skin tags (they can be stringy or look like a big zit) and when I get them cut off they use steri strips but I've nevr had a hard time taking them off. The growth of facial hair help with the one on my face, but the ones on my neck usually fall 0ff during really hot showers after a couple of weeks

Kim M said...

I was told by my post op nurse and by my surgeon to just let them fall off...NOT TO PULL surgeon did remove two of them on my neck as the stitch was poking through due to my twisting my head to far or something--so he trimmed the stitch--then put a new one on..he said the longer they stay on the better the incision heals as it keeps the two seperate sides together....

Anonymous said...

Thank you guys for posting the best information about what to do with the steri strips beyond "the can come off after 7 days."
I just had a breast biopsy and the area of course is tender tender tender! Kim and the original poster--thanks so much. I will just hot shower and bath and go slowly.
Thanks so much. There should be an info sheet that goes out to the patient with this product.