Home Emergency Medicine Large Bolt Cutters Can Be Used to Split Titanium Rings in ER

Large Bolt Cutters Can Be Used to Split Titanium Rings in ER

Pair of large bolt cutters obtained from theatre successfully cut ring after multiple failed attempts

FRIDAY, Aug. 14, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Large bolt cutters can be used to split titanium rings after multiple failed attempts with other methods, according to a letter to the editor published online Aug. 13 in the Emergency Medicine Journal.

Noting that titanium rings require specialist cutting equipment and that these techniques can take up to 15 minutes to divide the ring, Andrej Salibi, M.D., and Andrew N. Morritt, M.B., Ch.B., from the Sheffield Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in the United Kingdom, describe a simple and quick method for removing titanium rings.

The researchers recount the case of a patient who presented to the emergency department with a painful, swollen left ring finger, which had become increasingly swollen following prolonged bathing in a warm spa. Traditional methods to remove the ring, such as elevation, finger lubrication, finger binding, and a manual ring cutter failed. Attempted removal using specialized cutting equipment by the fire service also failed. Two manual ring cutters were blunted after further attempts following admission under plastic surgery service. Use of a pair of large bolt cutters obtained from theater was successful; the ring was pulled apart by lateral traction once the ring had been split.

“Our method used simple equipment that is readily available in most hospitals at all times, took <30 seconds to perform, and could be performed by a sole operator without damage to the underlying finger,” the authors write.

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