Ring Avulsion Serious Injury That Often Costs Person Finger

Removal of ring important step in avoiding devastating injury. 

MASON, Ohio (May 14, 2018) – A piece of jewelry as precious as a wedding band is rarely thought of as a dangerous source of injury until it gets caught on a fast-moving object.

Ring avulsion is a traumatic injury that results when a ring on a person’s finger gets stuck on a fast-moving object. The injury often takes place during a fall or with the use of fast-moving machinery at work. It’s a devastating injury that doesn’t get much attention until it hits the national spotlight, which was the case when comedian Jimmy Fallon experienced the injury after a fall.

“What makes ring avulsion so devastating is the permanent impact it has on a person’s finger,” said Matt Cavo, MD, a hand surgeon with Hand and Reconstructive Surgeons and Associates.

Damage caused by the abrupt and severe tug of the caught ring can vary from bruising to what is known as “degloving,” of the soft tissue, which literally strips the skin off the finger’s bone, tendons and nerves.

“It’s like taking a finger of a glove and completely stripping it down to the skeleton of your finger,” said Dr. Cavo, who practices with Premier Physician Network.

Ring avulsion can be a life-altering injury for those who experience it. The drastic change in a person’s anatomy can have an impact on a person’s emotional and physical state. The most difficult part is that this type of injury is extremely hard to treat.

“We attempt to reconnect all the different structures involved – the tendons, blood vessels, skin and bones,” Dr. Cavo said. “Unfortunately, often these injuries result in a surgical amputation even further back from where the injury started so the skin can be closed, allowing a person to have full function of their hand.”

Dr. Cavo said education about the injury is extremely important so it can be prevented in the first place.

Remove the ring – Your ring may hold value or significance to you, but it can’t trump the risk of losing your finger. Know which activities place you at risk for ring avulsion and then take the few seconds it requires to remove your ring and place it in a secure location until you are done.

Leave it at home – Those involved in jobs with fast-moving machinery should make it part of their daily routine to remove their ring prior to leaving home. This reduces the risk of forgetting about it when distractions meet you at your workplace door. It also takes away the fear of having to leave it in an area that may not be secure.

Don’t underestimate – Ring avulsion isn’t just an injury relegated to those involved in certain jobs. It’s an injury often associated with activities that may seem harmless around your home. Remove your ring anytime you are involved in household chores such as climbing ladders, mowing the lawn or operating a snow blower. You should remove your ring prior to an activity even if you can imagine the slightest risk.

Fallon was able to salvage his finger after his accident, but that’s not the norm in most cases, Dr. Cavo said. People need to understand the seriousness of the injury and that the finger usually needs to be removed. However, people with amputated fingers often are able to return to activities and hobbies they enjoyed being their accident – sometimes more easily than if they tried to save their injured finger. 

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