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J Emerg Med. 2012 Jul;43(1):93-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2011.07.032. Epub 2012 Jan 9.

A method for the removal of tungsten carbide rings.

Author information

1
Department of Emergency Medicine, Mayo Clinic Health System, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The removal of metal rings from fingers is a well-described process that often employs a toothed cutting wheel or bolt cutters to sever the ring and allow it to be pried open. However, tungsten carbide (TC) rings are impervious to these traditional ring-cutting devices.

STUDY OBJECTIVES:

We sought to describe a method for removal of TC rings from cadaveric fingers and characterize potential complications of the technique.

METHODS:

On cadaveric fingers, we placed TC rings and created a snug fit by injecting a fluorescein and saline solution. The rings were removed by a controlled crushing technique using a pair of locking pliers. Fingers were inspected under magnification and using an LED (light-emitting diode) black light, and X-ray studies of each finger were obtained. Injuries were characterized.

RESULTS:

Six rings were applied and successfully removed from six cadaveric fingers through controlled ring shatter. After ring removal, two fingers demonstrated superficial (<1 mm deep) lacerations, one of which had residual debris within the wound. No phalangeal fractures were identified.

CONCLUSION:

Removal of a TC ring can be performed through controlled crushing using locking pliers. Superficial lacerations and retained debris are potential complications.

PMID:
22230845
DOI:
10.1016/j.jemermed.2011.07.032
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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