27 Jul Jimmy Fallon Suffers Ring Avulsion, A Rare But Critical Hand Injury
Jimmy Fallon made the news, but not for what you might expect. The popular The Tonight Show host spent a solid five minutes on his July 13 broadcast explaining an accident he had suffered. As he held up his bandaged hand, he educated millions about ring avulsion.
Here is the video of Jimmy Fallon explaining the injury:
Ring avulsion, which occurred when Fallon tripped over a braided rug in his home and caught his ring finger on a countertop during his fall, is a sudden pull on a ring that causes severe soft tissue injury, ranging from circumferential soft tissue laceration to complete amputation. As a result, skin, nerves and vessels are often damaged.
The injury usually happens when a wedding band or any ring for that matter gets caught in a moving object or a machine. Avulsion injuries can be avoided by removing rings prior to taking part in activities like gardening, handling heavy objects, participating in sports or doing construction. The thumb, index, and middle fingers are more important for hand function, so wearing rings on these fingers should be avoided at all times. One jeweler online is quoted as saying that an injury like this is often caused when the ring is too large. He recommends making sure the ring fits snugly. Another possibility to consider is partially severing the ring so it breaks off with a force such as that when ring avulsion occurs.
Fallon spent 10 days in intensive care. While he praised his surgeon, who in a six-hour procedure managed to repair his finger, he also made it clear ring avulsion is very difficult to reconstruct. Indeed, the majority of people who suffer a ring avulsion end up losing their fingers.
In Fallon’s case, his doctor was able to remove a vein from the comedian’s foot and reattach it to his finger to restore blood supply. Fallon won’t get feeling back in the injured digit for at least eight weeks.
Fallon’s surgery was deemed a success. In fact, a 2008 study from the Journal of Hand Surgery says that new microsurgical techniques have led to a rise in successful finger reattachments and repairs. However, the study also noted “amputation is still the best option for most patients”.
Jimmy Fallon said he has newfound appreciation for his life because of how easy it can be taken away by something as insignificant as this incident. He ended the segment thanking the “angels” that had looked after him at the hospital and gave them all a shout out by name, including, of course, his hand surgeon.
Among those hand surgeons who deal with this type of problem is Dr. Michael Horowitz of the Center for Musculoskeletal Disorders. He is one of the hand microsurgery experts who face a number of the 150,000 incidents of amputations and degloving* in the U.S. per year, five percent of which are upper limb injuries.
To find out more about ring avulsion or to set up an appointment with Dr. Horowitz.
*A degloving injury is a type of avulsion in which an extensive section of skin is completely torn off the underlying tissue, severing its blood supply. It is named by analogy to the process of removing a glove.