Melbourne Hand Surgery

Avocados: a hidden health hazard

Persea americana 2Avocados are delicious; I eat them regularly. But I also regularly perform surgery on people who have sustained an "avocado injury" - when they accidentally plunge a sharp knife into their hand while trying to remove the pit from the avocado. Even actress Meryl Streep sustained an "avocado injury" in 2012.

Sometimes no significant structures are injured, but sometimes the knife cuts a nerve, an artery and/or a tendon. It is possible to have a partial injury to a tendon and still be able to move the hand normally, but there is a significant risk that a partially injured tendon may completely rupture, so review by a hand surgeon is recommended.

The most dangerous way to remove the pit from an avocado is to stab the end of the knife at the pit - because the knife can glance off the side and plunge straight into your hand.

The safest way to remove the pit from an avocado is with a spoon. The YouTube video below shows a safe method with a knife - from a mother who explains that she has adjusted her technique after she cut herself and had to have stitches. Another relatively safe technique using a knife is demonstrated in photos at this website.

FRACS

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