Experts on the television may be seen slicing the avocado effortlessly and harmlessly, but not-so-expert people need to be cautious. The rock-hard pit of the avocado surrounded by the soft fruit can misguide the knife.
One may aim at the pit, but the knife may end up piercing the hand, mostly the non-dominant hand.
A mere slip of hand/knife while slicing the avocado may lead to grave hand injuries. This injury, also called the ‘Avocado Hand’ peaks during summer months to make the hand surgeons busier than ever.
The collected data regarding the Avocado hand showed that 80% of the patients are women, mostly between the ages of 23 and 39 years, presenting mostly during the weekends.
“These injuries are exceedingly common,” says Dr. Matt Aizpuru of the Mayo Clinic.
Here is a case demonstration:
A 32-year-old woman presented to the emergency department (ED) with a knife embedded in her left (non-dominant) hand along with the avocado that she was trying to slice. This self-inflicted injury occurred while preparing an avocado.
On examination in the emergency department, the knife had pierced the ring finger of the patient’s left hand, passing through the avocado. The radial (lateral) part of the left ring finger had decreased sensation, but there was no motor deficit. The finger was well perfused.
In the ED, digital nerve regional anesthesia was administered, and the embedded knife was removed followed by washing the wound.
Injection tetanus was administered, and antibiotics were given to the patient. Thereafter, the wound was explored in the operating room under an axillary block.
The transected radial digital nerve was identified and repaired using a 9-0 nylon suture.
The surgery was uneventful, and so was the postoperative course. The patient was discharged the same day, and during the subsequent follow-ups, the patient was seen recovering fully with no restriction in the range of motion.
The good news is that the Avocado hand is a preventable hand injury.
Do not be disheartened by such rare cases; don’t abandon avocados, instead learn the right technique to extract the pit and slice the avocado.
“It’s best to just avoid holding whatever item you’re cutting, and if you are going to hold what you’re cutting, always cut away from yourself” says Ryan Endress, a hand surgeon with the University of Kansas Health System.
G Rahmani, J. M.-S. The Avocado Hand. Retrieved from Irish Medical Journal: http://imj.ie/the-avocado-hand/
Kevin X Farley, M. A. (2020, May). Avocado-related Knife Injuries: Describing an Epidemic of Hand Injury. Retrieved from PubMed: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31303536/
Rahmani G, Martin-Smith J, Sullivan P. The Avocado Hand. Ir Med J. 2017;110(10):658. Published 2017 Dec 18.