Just a quick post in reply to the post on Academic Life in Emergency Medicine where Michelle Lin and colleagues described how to remove a Tungsten ring by crushing it – they’re strong, but brittle apparently.
Anyway, whilst this is fine I do find that patients really don’t like their wedding rings destroyed. There is no joy in cutting off the wedding ring of a lady whose husband died recently. I’ve seen it done and it just seems wrong.
However, we do need to take rings off. Commonly when there is finger trauma or limb swelling from an injury further up the arm.
So, how is it that I’ve pretty much never cut a ring off? It’s not ‘never’ but it’s certainly a lot less frequently than many of my colleagues. Click here to watch and learn the undertakers trick.
1. Don’t try this if there is a wound on the finger – you would have to cut it off then.
2. It will only work if you are reducing a soft tissue obstruction. Obviously if there is a bony block, e.g. osteoarthritis of the PIPJ then it won’t work.
3. If you give it a try then it’s at your own risk. We do this in the ED as if it fails we always have the option of ring cutters.
4. This can be painful. If your patient cannot tolerate it, or if they do not want to try then fair enough. Again you would then need to cut the ring off.
So, in reality it does not work every time, but so long as the caveats above are met then it may well be worth a try.
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