Stay Focused to Avoid Snow Blower Hand Injuries
TARRYTOWN, N.Y., Feb. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Each year about 5,700 people in the United States visit an emergency room due to an overlooked seasonal health risk: snow blower-related injuries. These include fractured bones, cuts to skin and soft tissue, and serious bruises or sprains. In more than 10 percent of injuries, the snow blower amputates the user's hand, fingers or both.
"Snow blower injuries tend to happen when someone stops paying attention for even a few seconds," said R. Michael Koch, M.D., assistant professor of Surgery at New York Medical College, Chief of the Microsurgery and Replantation service at the Westchester Medical Center, and a surgeon with the New York Group for Plastic Surgery. "Even after the snow blower is turned off, tension is stored in the rotor blades. A hand or finger stuck in to remove wet snow or ice is at risk for being cut, mangled or even amputated."
Fortunately, advances in microsurgery often enable surgeons to reattach, replace or patch injured hands and fingers. A microsurgeon uses specialized tools with microscopes to select and lift tiny blood vessels, nerves and tissue like skin or fat from a healthy part of a patient's body to repair the wounded area.
Dr. Koch offers tips to keep limbs safe during snow blower season:
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