Scalp lacerations are one of the most common injuries which present to the Emergency Department. Applying a dry bandage over the staples or sutures can be a challenge because the tape just has nothing to adhere to.

We reviewed the use of tubular cotton gauze to create a beanie hat, but what should you do if you can’t find any tubular gauze? Ever since I wrote about the beanie hat trick, people in the ED have been using the tubular gauze more and we’re always out of stock whenever I look for it!

Trick of the Trade

Use hair to create a “hair braid dressing”

This was actually published in the Neurosurgery literature in 2004, but I just heard of it from Dr. Gemma Morabito (Rome, Italy) of Medicinadurgenza website fame just this last month!

1. Apply gauze over wound by lifting overlying hair.


2. Criss-cross hair over gauze.
3. Using string or rubber bands, tie both hair braids to the hair underneath to securely “sandwich” the gauze.
4. Secure the two hair braids to the gauze with tape.

Yanaka K, Nose T. Braid dressing for hair-bearing scalp wound. Neurocrit Care. 2004;1(2):217-8. Pubmed.

Michelle Lin, MD
ALiEM Founder and CEO
Professor and Digital Innovation Lab Director
Department of Emergency Medicine
University of California, San Francisco
Michelle Lin, MD


Professor of Emerg Med at UCSF-Zuckerberg SF General. ALiEM Founder @aliemteam #PostitPearls at Bio:
Michelle Lin, MD