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Ferric Subsulfate Solution: Definition & Uses

Instructor: Alexandra Unfried

Alexandra earned her master's degree in nursing education and is currently a hospital supervisor/administrator.

Ferric subsulfate solution is also known as Monsel's solution and astringyn. This lesson will discuss the definition and uses of ferric subsulfate solution.

Skin Biopsy

Kathy is at her physician's office to have a skin biopsy. She noticed a dark mark on her shoulder a week ago. Kathy's physician suggested a biopsy of the mark due to a family history of cancer. The physician is explaining the procedure and Kathy is wondering if there will be a scar. The physician begins to tell her about the ferric subsulfate solution that he will use on her skin so he will not have to use staples or stitches.

What Is Ferric Subsulfate Solution?

Ferric subsulfate solution is a prescription liquid that helps stop bleeding after small surgical procedures. It is also known as Monsel's solution and astringyn. It is a hemostatic or stypic agent. Hemostasis is the process in the body that stops bleeding through vasoconstriction of the blood vessels, platelet bonding, and coagulation. Stypic is an antihemorrhagic agent that assists with hemostasis. Ferric subsulfate solution works by clustering blood particles together to stop bleeding. It is only used topically and should not be ingested. The hemostatic action of ferric subsulfate solution usually takes less than twenty seconds after it is applied to skin or body tissue.

Kathy is intrigued by the ferric subsulfate solution. She has never heard of a liquid that can stop bleeding so stitches or staples do not have to be used. This means that she will not have to return to the doctor's office to have sutures removed. She asks her physician what ferric subsulfate can be used for.

Skin abnormality that needs a biopsy and use of ferric subsulfate solution
Skin abnormality that needs a biopsy and use of ferric subsulfate solution

Uses of Ferric Subsulfate Solution

Ferric subsulfate solution is useful after small surgical procedures, such as a shave biopsy or a punch biopsy. A shave biopsy involves taking a razor or scalpel and cutting the tissue of the skin until the desired part is removed. A punch biopsy uses a circular blade to remove the preferred skin tissue. Each of these procedures takes about fifteen minutes, and as long as the wound is not too deep or large ferric subsulfate solution can be used to stop the bleeding. The incision site is then covered with gauze for protection. Ferric subsulfate solution can also be used after a cervical biopsy or colposcopy. Once the area of the cervix is cut, the solution is applied to stop the bleeding.

Scalpel used for a shave biopsy
Scalpel used for a shave biopsy

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