Letters to the Editor: Letters & Announcements
To the Editor:
Many techniques have been described in the literature for the removal of a tight ring (1–13). Suture, glove, rubber band, nylon tape, ribbon gauze, and paper clips have all been recommended for the nondestructive removal of a ring that is “stuck.”
I have been using the “caterpillar technique” for more than 10 years with remarkable success. It has worked when suture and other methods have failed. With generous lubricant and this method, a ring that has not budged in years can be removed in seconds, usually to the surprise of the patient and operating room staff.
First, coat the ring and the entire finger with whatever lubricant is available. Hand lotion and KY jelly work just fine. Press upward on the ring. While maintaining firm, direct pressure, swing the top portion of the ring forward. Release pressure. Press downwards on the ring and swing the bottom portion of the ring towards the finger tip. Do not be afraid to press firmly. There may be some discomfort at the proximal interphalangeal joint. Reassure the patient. The ring will soon slip off entirely once this last resistance is passed. Please refer to Figure 1 for more details.
Carla St. Laurent, MD
Department of Anesthesiology
University of California Irvine Medical Center
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13. Cresap CR. Removal of a hardened steel ring from an extremely swollen finger. Am J Emerg Med 1995;13:318–20.