Reference Work Entry

Handbook of Adhesion Technology

pp 1485-1503

Adhesion in Medicine

  • Robin A. ChiversAffiliated withConsultant in Medical Adhesives and Materials Email author 


Adhesives are increasingly being used in medicine for repairing cuts and tears in the body as an alternative to mechanical fixation such as sutures. There are very strict regulations controlling the application of adhesives within the body and this means that there are only a limited number of chemistries which are approved for clinical use. The principal internal adhesives in current use are those based on fibrin, gelatin, and poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) hydrogels and function largely as sealants, though do bond to the tissue surfaces. Cyanoacrylates are approved, mostly only for application to the surface of the skin for wound closure, but are quite widely used in a range of other applications. There are many requirements of an adhesive for internal use and this has led to large number of further systems being proposed. A number of those currently being evaluated for internal indications are described. Some are based on synthetic chemistry, some from biological sources such as marine creatures, and some are akin to welding or soldering.

Pressure-sensitive adhesives are widely used for securing dressings and devices to the skin surface. Most of these are now based on acrylic or silicone chemistries.


Acrylate bone collagen cyanoacrylate fibrin formaldehyde gecko gelatin hemostasis hydrogel mussel pressure-sensitive adhesive protein sealant shellfish silicone skin solder surgery suture tissue urethane welding wound