Dutch plastic surgeons worried about rising “Avocado Hand” injuries
Plastic surgeons in the Netherlands say they are seeing an increasing number of patients with accidental hand injuries caused by the improper de-stoning of an avocado. The growing consumption of the fruit has brought about more patients with cuts at the base of their fingers, an injury informally known as “avocado hand” in some parts of the world.
“Pitting with a knife often goes wrong, usually resulting in nerve damage," said Dr. Annekatrien van de Kar, a plastic surgeon at the OLVG in Amsterdam. “When de-stoning, consumers often hold an avocado half in the palm of their hand. If the knife then slides or slips from the pit during de-stoning, they will stab into their hand,” she wrote in a statement released by the Dutch plastic surgeons association NVPC.
“In addition, we often see that sensory nerves of the fingers are damaged or cut. Sometimes people even hit a tendon.”
The NVPC wants supermarkets and avocado distributors to provide customers with clearer instructions on how to de-stone the fruit. Also problematic is the frequency with which known chefs and video influencers use unsafe methods during instructional videos, the association noted.
Instead of using a knife, the NVPC suggested the use of a spoon or a special pit removal tool to pluck the stone out of an avocado which was safely cut in a half. “Avocado injuries are a growing problem in general practice and emergency care. The consequences can be annoying and permanent. Unfortunately, the risks are unknown or underestimated by the consumer,” Van de Kar stated.
It was not known how many people are injured weekly in the Netherlands due to cooking with avocados. The NVPC said that many of its plastic surgeons see several such injuries every week.
Research in the United States showed that eight thousand people there are injured in avocado-related accidents every year.