Fishhook Removal

Simple Retrograde Removal
The physician or advanced practice nurse removes the fishhook by backing it out, following the pathway of entry.

String Method

  • For the string method technique, wear eye protection.
  • The physician or advanced practice nurse wraps the middle of a piece of umbilical tape or heavy silk suture material (at least 10 inches long) around the bend of the fishhook, grasping both free ends in the dominant hand, holding the ends in the opposite direction from the direction of the fishhook entry.
  • The physician or advanced practice nurse gently presses down on the shank of the fishhook, disengaging the barb.
  • The physician or advanced practice nurse tugs or snaps the ends of the tape or suture material in the direction away from the fishhook entry and parallel to the skin. This action removes the fishhook in a retrograde fashion.

Advance and Cut

  • This method is used for deeper fishhook penetrations, when multiple barbs are embedded, or when other methods have failed.
  • The physician or advanced practice nurse advances the tip of the fishhook through the skin using the forceps or the needle holder.
  • The physician or advanced practice nurse cuts the tip and barb from the fishhook with wire cutters.
  • The physician or advanced practice nurse removes the remainder of the fishhook in a retrograde manner.
  • If the fishhook shaft is barbed, the eye of the fishhook is cut off with wire cutters and the fishhook is removed in an antegrade fashion.
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