What to do if you have severed your finger?

What to do if you have severed your finger?

Posted on 08/26/2019


Our hands and particularly our fingers are something that is easy to take for granted. We rely on them for countless tasks day to day, such as picking up objects, eating and even changing the television channel. Unfortunately, our fingers are easily injured too, with them inadvertently becoming knocked, trapped and more. Whilst there are lots of different injuries that can affect our hands, one of the most serious is a severed finger.

A severed finger doesn’t necessarily mean that the entire finger has become detached. All or part of the finger may have become cut off from the hand, and a finger may be fully or partially detached.

Understandably, a severed finger is a situation that can lead to full-scale panic. Nevertheless, remaining calm and knowing what to do in the event that your finger is fully or partially cut off can make the difference between a positive or negative outcome to your situation.  

Here is what you need to know about what action to take if you experience a severed finger.

Finding and caring for the severed finger

If you have experienced a complete amputation, you should look, or ask someone else to look, for the severed digit. If you are able to find it, you should:

-         Gently rinse it off with water or sterile saline solution, don’t be tempted to scrub it as this could cause damage to it.

-         Cover the digit in damp gauze.

-         Place it in a clean, waterproof bag.

-         Place that bag into another, larger plastic bag that you have packed with ice.

-         Get to your emergency room or a specialist hand doctor as soon as possible.

In the event that you have lost more than one digit, it is important to place each into their own clean, waterproof bag as this will prevent further damage from occurring and minimize the risk of infection.

Do not place your severed fingers directly onto ice or anything frozen as you must avoid it getting wet.

Caring for your hand/damaged retained fingers

Whether you have fully or partially severed your finger, you will need to take steps to properly care for your hand and damaged retained fingers until you can be seen by a professional.

Clean the affected area: run cool, freshwater over the affected area to remove any debris. If there is something lodged in your finger, don’t be tempted to pull it out yourself – this is best left to the professionals. Clean around your injured around and place a sterile dressing, such as a gauze pad or clean washcloth, against it. If your finger is still bleeding, compress the wound to stop the flow of blood.

Elevate the hand: aside from compression, the best way of stemming blood loss is to elevate your hand and arm as much as possible.

Get professional help as quickly as you can: There is a chance that your finger may be able to be reattached, but this is dependent on you getting the right professional help as soon as possible. If you feel that you are in need of an ambulance, don’t hesitate to call one. Otherwise, have someone drive you to the emergency room. They will contact the relevant specialists if they are required.

Bear in mind that if it is possible to reattach your severed finger, you will need surgery to do this. Afterward, you may need physical therapy to help you obtain full strength and use of your newly repaired finger.



If you would like more information about what to do in the event that you experience a severed finger, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our expert team who will be happy to offer their advice.





Please contact us today to schedule an appointment or get more information about our hand and upper extremity surgical services.