According to the United Kingdom's National Health Service, butterfly bandages are applied by taping one side of the butterfly bandage on one side of the wound, pulling it tightly across the wound and taping it down on the other side, bringing the edges of the wound together. Butterfly bandages are always applied across the wound rather than lengthwise, notes Bon Secours St. Francais Health System.
Butterfly bandages are applied after lining up and pushing together the edges of the wound, states the NHS, beginning in the middle of the wound and continuing outward, alternating up and down the wound to keep the edges matched and the tension even. An extra strip is applied to each completed side of butterfly bandages to keep them anchored.
If the bandages stay in place for at least three days, the results are as good as using stitches, without the risk of scars, states Dr. Sears. They are not used for deep wounds or wounds that are gaping open. Because they are difficult to keep in place, these bandages are also not suitable for use on wounds on a joint or other area of skin tension. Butterfly bandages, also known as steri-strips, are kept on for two to five days, notes Dr. Sears.