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What Are Winged Bandages?

Winged bandages, aka “butterfly bandages,” are a certain kind of adhesive bandage that holds wounds closed while they heal, helping to either keep them clean until they can be treated further with stitches or to keep them closed until they fully heal. The reason it is named a winged bandage is because it has two ‘wings’ of adhesive material that can be stretched over and attached onto either side of the wound. These bandages are largely used to cover more moderate injuries like deep cuts that have penetrated several layers of skin.


These bandages are often kept along with other kinds of bandages in an emergency first aid kit along with sterile cotton, gauze, hydrogen peroxide, and triple antibiotic ointment. They can usually be purchased in boxes organized by size or in boxes that have the small, medium, and large sizes mixed together.   


How to apply a winged bandage:

  • Clean in and around the wound area
  • Place one end of the bandage on one side of the wound and press down firmly so that it covers the entire wound in a secure fashion.
  • Hold the skin together to close the wound, and press both ends of the bandage securely to the skin.


The shapes and sizes of a winged bandage can vary depending on the bandage manufacturer.  Some designs can be quite angular, while others can be so rounded out that they actually resemble the wings of a butterfly – hence the name “butterfly bandages.” The shape of the winged bandage may alter its effectiveness depending on the wound.Thin wings may not close a wound as well as thicker ones, for example. Likewise sometimes bandages with smaller or thinner wings are better at closing wounds on the face without being too noticeable. Whether or not a deeper cut can be kept closed using only a winged bandage or if it will require stitches will best be determined by a medical professional.