To the Editor:--Rings on the fingers of surgical patients usually should be removed preoperatively. Although rings frequently can be removed by thorough lubrication around the ring or the string-wrap method, sometimes we are unable to remove rings using these methods, and, in an emergency, it is necessary to use a ring cutter. We would like to introduce a new simple method for ring removal.
A finger part of a surgical glove cut off cylindrically is passed between the ring and the finger using small forceps as used for plastic surgery (Figure 1). The segment of the rubber beyond the ring is turned inside out and is pulled toward the fingertip with a twisting motion on the ring (Figure 2), thereby removing it.
This method has the advantage over the string-wrap method, which cannot be applied to burned, wounded, fractured, or inflamed fingers because of severe pain and the possibility of causing further damage to these fingers. The digital nerves can be blocked, if necessary. In addition, the glove between the ring and the finger may protect the finger against electrical burn during surgery even if removal of the ring was not possible. With this method, we successfully managed five patients whose rings could not be removed either with lubrication using lidocaine lubricant or olive oil and the string-wrap method. We believe that our method is an alternative worth trying before the ring is cut.
Soichiro Inoue, M.D., Senior Resident of Anesthesiology.
Satoshi Akazawa, M.D., Associate Professor of Anesthesiology.
Hirokazu Fukuda, M.D., Instructor of Anesthesiology.
Reiju Shimizu, M.D., Professor and Chairman of Anesthesiology, Department of Anesthesiology, Jichi Medical School, Minamikawachi-machi, Kawachi-gun, Tochigi-ken, 329–04, Japan.
(Accepted for publication August 17, 1995.)