Las Vegas Plastic Surgery
When most people think about plastic surgeons they immediately associate our work with movie stars and the most prominent cosmetic procedures in the news today. However, like any experienced physician, plastic surgeons are trained in a variety of surgical areas, including aesthetic, reconstructive, microvascular and hand surgery. As board certified physicians, plastic surgeons are often called upon to perform various cosmetic procedures with a patient’s hands.
Each year, hundreds of people suffer maiming or amputations of their fingers or hands due to the improper handling of snowblowers. The American Society for Surgery of the Hand would like to provide you with patient information to help you avoid these injuries during the winter season.
We saw these injuries often during my training at the beginning of my medical career. Snowblower injuries are not a common problem I encounter as a plastic surgeon in Las Vegas. However, it does snow occasionally near Las Vegas, and the high, cold Nevada mountains are nearby. Moreover, our desert residents do travel back to snowy areas of the country every year to ski and visit relatives and friends. This may make this information even more important as people may be less familiar with snowblower machines. These same safety tips can also be applied to leaf-blowers.
I have seen hand injuries become very serious in a very short period of time.
Recently I came across an article on the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH) website that gave several good reminders about snowblower safety. I wanted to pass them on this winter
Some Basic Facts:
Average age: 44 years
Dominant hand — 90% of injuries
Amputations of tips of fingers
Middle finger most commonly injured
Heavy, wet snow
Large snow accumulation, greater than six inches
Temperature: 28 degrees Fahrenheit or greater
Snow clogging the exit chute of the machine
Not noticing that the impeller blades are still rotating even though the machine is off
Operator attempts to clean the clogged exit chute with hands
Hands connect with the rotating blades, resulting in severe injury
Snowblowers are safe, (and a big time and back saver), if used properly.
Please remember… If your snowblower jams:
Turn it OFF!
Wait five seconds after shutting machine off to allow impeller blades to stop rotating.
ALWAYS use a stick or broom handle to clear impacted snow.
NEVER put your hand down chute or around blades.
Keep all shields in place. DO NOT REMOVE the safety devices on the machine.
Keep hands and feet away from all moving parts.
Keep a clear head, concentrate, and
DO NOT DRINK before using your snowblower!
I will stress that prevention of injury is always the best way to go. Using the above points will help make the person aware of the potential danger, and remain injury free. Accidents do happen, so please if there is any question at all about your health, do not hesitate to seek medical attention immediately!
Have a safe winter!
Jeffrey J. Roth, M.D., F.A.C.S.