5 Physical Problems Doctors Fix With Glue

Bleeding in the Brain
Adhesive can be used to treat aneurisms, abnormal blood vessel connections, and even sinus malformation. ©Digital Vision/Thinkstock

When surgical glue isn't being used to seal the flap of an open wound, it's also found plugging up holes, fixing leaks and filling pockets or cavities.

Newborns, because of their small sizem pose a special concern during surgery; there are sometimes limited tools for such a delicate job. Those born with arteriovenous aneurysm, the vein of Galen malformation (VGAM) described as a blood-bubble in the brain, for example, have been successfully treated with glue. Medical-grade liquid adhesives are used in an attempt to stop or slow the flow of blood to the problem area; in fact, a glue called n–butyl cyanoacrylate (n-BCA) was developed in the 1970s with aneurysm treatment in mind. It works through a strategically-located catheter. A surgeon controls an injection of the super glue into the arteries; the glue sets in 20 minutes or less, shutting the artery and stopping the blood flow.

Arteriovenous fistulas (AVF), abnormally connected blood vessels in your brain or around your spinal cord, are treated in a similar way, with endovascular embolization, depending on the classification of the fistula -- basically, stopping the blood flow with glue. Super glue has also been used by University of Maryland doctors to stop a rare condition called dural sinus malformation, another condition of bleeding in the brain; in this instance, glue fills the affected cranial sinus cavity, stopping the bleeding.