This is Dr. Bill Aydin, plastic and reconstructive surgeon with the NYGPS. Hand and finger injuries are among the most common causes for emergency room visits. I’ve operated on many tool-related extremity injuries, including lacerations (deep cuts) that have nearly resulted in the loss of hands and/or fingers.

If a laceration is so deep that it cuts to the bone, we use microsurgery to try to save the hand or fingers and preserve function for the patient. Microsurgery is a very complex, technically demanding surgery that uses specialized tools with microscopes to operate on extremely small parts of the body. When a tendon, nerve, vein, or artery is lacerated, we take a healthy one from another area of the body and graft it to the injury site.

If you are doing summer home repair work with tools, please take the time to prepare properly and put some safety measures in place. Following simple safety rules can help you avoid a serious injury:

· Think through tools and materials you’ll need, and position them strategically in your work area before starting. If you realize midway that you’ve forgotten a tool, carefully and fully disengage from your work to get it — do not lean over or reach up for it.
· Do not use a tool that lacks safety mechanisms or is inappropriate for a specific task. If you’re unsure, check with an expert at the hardware store.
· Alert a family member or neighbor that you’re undertaking a home repair project and ask if they’ll come by to check up on you.
· Keep a phone and first aid supplies nearby, in case. If you’re not at your own home, be sure you know the specific address so emergency dispatch can find you, and be aware of a nearby major medical center.