St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

    Print-Friendly
    Bookmarks

    Fishhook removal

    Fishhook removal from skin

    This article discusses how to remove a fishhook that is stuck in the skin.

    Causes

    • Fishing accident

    Symptoms

    • Pain
    • Localized swelling
    • Bleeding

    First Aid

    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 methods for removal of a hook that is superficially (not deeply) embedded just beneath the skin:

    Fish line method:

    1. First, wash your hands with soap and water, or disinfecting solution, and then wash the area surrounding the hook.
    2. Put a loop of fish line through the bend of the fishhook so that a quick jerk can be applied and the hook can be pulled out directly in line with the shaft of the hook.
    3. Holding onto the shaft, push the hook slightly downwards and inwards (away from the barb) so as to disengage the barb.
    4. Holding this pressure constant to keep the barb disengaged, give a quick jerk on the fish line and the hook will pop out.
    5. Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water and apply a loose, sterile dressing.
    6. Watch the area for signs of infection such as redness, swelling, pain, or drainage.

    Wire cutting method:

    1. First, wash your hands with soap and water, or disinfecting solution, and then wash the area surrounding the hook.
    2. After the skin is clean, apply gentle pressure along the curve of the fishhook while pulling on the hook.
    3. If the tip of the hook lies near the surface of the skin, push the tip through the skin, cut it off just behind the barb with wire cutters, and remove the remainder of the hook by pulling it back through the way it entered.
    4. Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water, and apply a loose sterile dressing.
    5. Watch area for signs of infection such as redness, swelling, pain, or drainage.

    Do not use these methods or otherwise attempt to remove a fishhook that is deeply embedded in the skin, lodged within a joint or tendon, or located in or near an eye or artery. If you are at all unsure, it is best to seek medical attention immediately.

    A fishhook in the eye is a medical emergency, and you should seek immediate emergency medical care. The area should be shielded or otherwise secured to avoid further movement. The injured person should lie down with the head slightly raised. The eye should not be moved until medical care is obtained.

    DO NOT

    • DO NOT try to remove fishhooks that are stuck in the eye, near an artery, or stuck very deeply in the skin or body.
    • DO NOT close the fishhook wound with tape and apply antibiotic ointment. Doing so can increase the chance of infection.

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Seek immediate medical help if the fishhook is in the eye or located near an artery.

    The main advantage to getting medical help for other fishhook injuries is that the fishhook can be removed under local anesthesia. That means the part of your body that is hurt is numbed with medicine before the fishhook is removed.

    Call your doctor if:

    • You have a fishhook injury and your tetanus immunization is not up to date (or if you are unsure)
    • The area where you removed a fishhook starts to show signs of infection such as increasing redness, swelling, pain, or drainage

    Prevention

    • Keep a safe distance between you and another person who is fishing (in particular, casting).
    • Keep electrician's pliers with a wire-cutting blade and disinfecting solution in your fishing tackle box.
    • Make sure you are up to date on your tetanus immunization (vaccine). You should receive a booster shot every 10 years.

    References

    Otten EJ, Mohler DG. Hunting and Other Weapons Injuries. In: Auerbach PS, ed. Wilderness Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 22.

    Stone, DB, Levine, DB. Foreign Body Removal. In: Roberts JR,Hedges JR eds. Roberts: Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa. Saunders Elsevier; 2009: chap 36.

    BACK TO TOP

    • Skin layers

      illustration

      • Skin layers

        illustration

      Talking to your MD

        Tests for Fishhook removal

          Review Date: 1/1/2013

          Reviewed By: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

          The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
          adam.com

          A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.


          Back  |  Top
          About Us
          Contact Us
          History
          Mission
          Locations & Directions
          Quality Reports
          Annual Reports
          Honors & Awards
          Community Health Needs
          Assessment

          Newsroom
          Services
          Brain & Spine
          Cancer
          Heart
          Maternity
          Orthopedics
          Pulmonary
          Sleep Medicine
          Urgent Care
          Women's Services
          All Services
          Patients & Visitors
          Locations & Directions
          Find a Physician
          Tour St. Luke's
          Patient & Visitor Information
          Contact Us
          Payment Options
          Financial Assistance
          Send a Card
          Mammogram Appointments
          Health Tools
          My Personal Health
          mystlukes
          Spirit of Women
          Health Information & Tools
          Clinical Trials
          Health Risk Assessments
          Employer Programs -
          Passport to Wellness

          Classes & Events
          Classes & Events
          Spirit of Women
          Donate & Volunteer
          Giving Opportunities
          Volunteer
          Physicians & Employees
          For Physicians
          Remote Access
          Medical Residency Information
          Pharmacy Residency Information
          Physician CPOE Training
          Careers
          Careers
          St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
          Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile