Mumbai: Man's thumb saved with surgery to remove embedded ring

Due to swelling of the finger, metal rings compress the nerves, which negatively impacts the tissues in the swollen fingers

Swapnil MishraUpdated: Tuesday, September 06, 2022, 10:15 AM IST
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Mumbai: A 45-year-old man underwent a successful thumb reconstruction surgery after the ring he was wearing got stuck and embedded in his right thumb due to swelling.

The patient had a history of blunt trauma to the right thumb three weeks ago. His thumb got swollen and developed a wound releasing a foul-smelling discharge. His thumb was numb and cold to touch and he had difficulty moving it.

Dr Parag Lad, consultant - hand & reconstructive microsurgeon and director of Pinnacle Orthocenter, said a ring is the most common ornament in many customs and religions. It is traditionally worn as a symbol of love during engagement / wedding or as decorative jewellery.

Due to swelling of the finger, metal rings compress the nerves, which negatively impacts the tissues in the swollen fingers.

Hence, it must be removed immediately before it threatens the finger's viability.

Dr Lad had recently published a study in The Journal of Hand Surgery. He found that chronic constriction caused by a stuck ring is a serious problem as it can lead to tissue damage, nerve damage and necrosis of skin which can cause an infection and ultimately may lead to amputation.

“On examination, the right thumb was swollen and the ring was embedded in the thumb. The patient was counselled for surgery. There was chronic inflammation and the blood supply was compromised.

"Fortunately, there were no signs of bone infection. Thumb reconstruction surgery was planned for the patient. The unhealthy and infected soft tissue was removed for the wound to heal. The wound was left open and dressed in moist gauze and a thumb spica slab was applied after surgery,” said Dr Lad.

He added that during the second stage of surgery, the thumb nerves were reconstructed along with a soft tissue cover. His thumb function improved after six months upon final follow-up.

“However, a person with religious thoughts, psychological illness or addictions avoid or refuse to remove the ring and due to gradual tightening, the ring gets stuck into the finger and is difficult to cut. It results in infection of the skin. In such a situation, the ring causes severe deformity of fingers raising the risk of amputation,” added Dr Lad.

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