"Avocado Hand": As the Fruit Soars in Popularity, So Do Gruesome Injuries

"Avocado Hand": As the Fruit Soars in Popularity, So Do Gruesome Injuries
Deviled California Avocado by Chef Brad Cecchi of Canon (Photo:
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Over the last decade, emergency room physicians started noticing it more and more... Patients, primarily in their early thirties, coming in with grisly knife injuries to their non-dominant hands, almost all of which required surgical repair. Each time, the cause was the same – they were slicing an avocado.

The trend has since garnered a name: "Avocado Hand," and deservedly so. A study published earlier this year to the American Journal of Emergency Medicine found that between 1998 and 2017 there were an estimated 50,413 avocado-related knife injuries in the United States. The bulk of those – 27,059 – occurred between 2013 and 2017, suggesting a rapid increase in recent years closely correlated with the fruit's rise in culinary popularity.

This past week, a team of doctors from the United Kingdom published a study exploring thirty-five documented incidents of avocado-related hand injury, seeking to characterize them and discern methods of prevention.

The overwhelming majority of injuries occurred when attempting to remove the avocado's large, hard seed, called a "stone".

"All patients reported that they had pressed the knife tip down perpendicularly onto the avocado seed and that it slipped off it and plunged into their hand," the doctors wrote.

And the injuries were not at all minor.

"All patients presenting with these injuries required surgical exploration and repair. Structures damaged that required repair included; tendon repairs, digital nerve repairs, and pulley repair/reconstruction."

Multiple hospital follow-ups and rehabilitation were also necessary.

Recognizing the preponderance and severity of "Avocado Hand", the researchers offered a step-by-step guide to preparing one of the fruits for consumption.

How to properly prepare an avocado.

"Keeping fingers out of the way, the flesh of the fruit is cut circumferentially around the stone. The two halves are twisted and separated. The knife is then tapped into the stone and it is removed. The fruit can then be further prepared."

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