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J Trauma. 1989 Feb;29(2):229-33.

Snowblower injuries to the hand.

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Department of Surgery, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield 62708.


When operated carelessly, snowblowers can produce serious trauma to the hand. During a 3-year period, 13 cases were identified. The injuries occurred when the operators attempted to dislodge impacted snow from the snowblower chute. Experience with the equipment did not appear to be a factor. The frequency of injuries was directly related to the depth of snowfall. Higher temperatures and wet snow were also important. The long and ring fingers of the dominant hand were most frequently injured. A total of 22 digits in 13 patients were involved. Three digits underwent amputation. All patients had fractures, ranging from simple closed fractures of the distal tuft to open comminuted fractures of the proximal phalanx. Injuries were treated with debridement and primary repair. Operator carelessness is usually responsible for the injury. If the public is made aware of snowblower hazards at the time of heavy snowfall, injuries may be avoided.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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