We carried out a blinded prospective randomised controlled trial comparing 2-octylcyanoacrylate (OCA), subcuticular suture (monocryl) and skin staples for skin closure following total hip and total knee arthroplasty. We included 102 hip replacements and 85 of the knee.OCA was associated with less wound discharge in the first 24 hours for both the hip and the knee. However, with total knee replacement there was a trend for a more prolonged wound discharge with OCA. With total hip replacement there was no significant difference between the groups for either early or late complications. Closure of the wound with skin staples was significantly faster than with OCA or suture. There was no significant difference in the length of stay in hospital, Hollander wound evaluation score (cosmesis) or patient satisfaction between the groups at six weeks for either hips or knees. We consider that skin staples are the skin closure of choice for both hip and knee replacements.