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Emergency Medical Minute


Aug 23, 2022

Contributor: Jared Scott, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • If a patient is in significant pain, a digital block can be helpful. Pain management alone may allow for manual ring removal. 
  • Ring cutters and trauma shears with specialized ring cutters can be attempted but will destroy the ring and some materials may be resistant to cutting. 
  • 2 alternative options are presented which aim to reduce edema above the ring to assist removal: 
    • Move the ring as proximally as possible. Wrap large size suture from the ring distally beyond PIP joint. Slide the ring over the suture and off the finger. 
    • Wrap a tourniquet from distal to proximal including over the ring. Have the patient hold the tourniquet in place while they elevate their hand above the head for 15 minutes. Take down the tourniquet then remove the ring. 


Asher CM, Fleet M, Bystrzonowski N. Ring removal: an illustrated summary of the literature. Eur J Emerg Med. 2020;27(4):268-273. doi:10.1097/MEJ.0000000000000658

Walter J, DeBoer M, Koops J, Hamel LL, Rupp PE, Westgard BC. Quick cuts: A comparative study of two tools for ring tourniquet removal. Am J Emerg Med. 2021;46:238-240. doi:10.1016/j.ajem.2020.07.039


Summarized by Kirsten Hughes, MS4 | Edited by John Spartz, MD & Erik Verzemnieks, MD


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