This article discusses how to remove a fishhook that is stuck in the skin.
Fishhook removal from skin
Fishing accidents are the most common cause of fishhooks stuck in the skin.
A fishhook stuck in the skin can cause:
If the barb of the hook has not entered the skin, pull the tip of the hook out in the opposite direction it went in. Otherwise, you can use one of the following ways to remove a hook that is superficially (not deeply) embedded just beneath the skin.
Fish line method:
Wire cutting method:
DO NOT use any of the two methods above, or any other method, if the hook is stuck deeply in the skin, or in a joint or tendon, or located in or near an eye or artery. Get medical help right away.
A fishhook in the eye is a medical emergency, and you should go to the nearest emergency room right away. The injured person should lie down with the head slightly raised. They should not move the eye, and the eye should be protected from further injury.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
The main advantage to getting medical help for any fishhook injury is that it can be removed under local anesthesia. This means before the hook is removed, the health care provider numbs the area with medicine.
Call your provider if:
The following steps can help prevent fishhook injuries.
Otten EJ. Hunting and and fishing injuries. In: Auerbach PS, Cushing TA, Harris NS, eds. Auerbach's Wilderness Medicine. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 26.
Stone, DB, Scordino DJ. Foreign body removal. In: Roberts JR, ed. Roberts and Hedges' Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014: chap 36.
Review Date: 10/16/2017
Reviewed By: Jesse Borke, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, Attending Physician at FDR Medical Services/Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Buffalo, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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