Family and Friends Public Health

Avocado Hand: Kitchen Injury on the Rise

Carefully cutting an avocado.
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Avocados have become increasingly popular in recent years, due in part to their wide availability, delicious flavor and health benefits. But what you may not know is these guacamole makers pose a danger when trying to get to their tasty, green flesh. Emergency departments all over the country are seeing more and more patients come in with lacerations (cuts) from accidents involving avocados, leading to a new term being coined — avocado hand.

Even celebrities like Bachelorette contestant Andi Dorfman, comedian Joy Behar and Academy Award-winning actor Meryl Streep have all fallen victim to this food prep injury.

Reducing Your Risk of Avocado Hand

“Be careful, take your time and use a cutting board,” recommends board-certified plastic surgeon Anup Patel, MD. “I see between five and ten cases come through my practice caused specifically by avocados every year. It’s very common for these accidents to sever nerves, arteries and tendons, which require microsurgery to repair.”

Microsurgery is a special type of surgery where a microscope is employed by the surgeon to see the very fine details of these tissues in order to repair them. The procedure is on such a small scale the suture material used to stitch up these small parts are thinner than a human hair. Microsurgeons, like Dr. Patel, are specially trained for these procedures and have many hours of practice in order to perform at the level they do.

Avocado Hand — Urgent Care or Emergency Care?

“If you cut yourself while trying to pit or slice an avocado, you’ll likely require stitches,” says Dr. Patel. “If you can control the bleeding, still move your fingers and don’t have any numbness then you likely only require a visit to an urgent care center. However, if you cannot control or stop the bleeding, or if you’ve lost the ability to move your fingers or have numbness in them, you’ll likely require surgery to repair the damage. Call an ambulance or have someone drive you to the emergency department immediately.”

If it’s discovered in the emergency department you’ve lacerated an artery, tendon or nerve, you’ll be referred to one of highly trained surgeons for microsurgery to repair it. Otherwise, AdventHealth Centra Care provides fast, convenient access to care seven days a week. Walk in or make an appointment to discover compassionate care and world-class expertise close to home.

AdventHealth Orlando and Orlando Hand Surgery Associates’ new Hand to Shoulder Center offers specially trained surgeons, on staff to treat injuries like avocado hand. This world-class team of specialists are also trained in plastic and restorative surgery. To make an appointment with the Hand to Shoulder Center, call Call407-605-3273.

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