Trick of the Trade: Hair apposition technique (HAT trick)

Scalp lacerations over hair-bearing areas require wound closure, usually with staples. An alternative technique is the Hair Apposition Technique, also known as the HAT trick. [1, 2] This technique provides a more cost-effective, faster, and less painful approach to scalp laceration repair. Imagine the scalp hairs as suture ties already embedded in the skin.

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2016-10-26T17:05:42-07:00

Trick of the Trade: Toxic sock syndrome

The olfactory nerve of an emergency physician is exposed to a broad range of smells in the Emergency Department. I’ve learned that the stinky-feet problem is a commonality amongst ED’s around the world! I call it the “toxic sock syndrome”. There are two remedies which I’ve been told of:

  • Nebulized oil of wintergreen
  • Placing a open canister of coffee grounds next to the feet (I’ve never understood this. I would imagine it would smell like stinky feet in a cafe. Plus, what a waste of coffee!)

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2019-01-28T23:54:04-07:00

Trick of the Trade: Needle thoracostomy

On a shift last week, we had a patient present with a spontaneous pneumothorax. Not only that, but it was a tension pneumothorax. Although the patient was hemodynamically stable, he was very uncomfortable and really short of breath. To give us more time to prepare for the chest tube, it was decided to perform a needle thoracostomy.

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2016-10-26T17:05:43-07:00

Sneak Peak "Trick of the Trade": Digital nerve block

The digital nerve block is common performed in the Emergency Department to provide anesthesia prior to wound closure. The digital nerves are typically accessed by injecting in the webspace on either side of the finger.

Have you had patients start to get sweaty and anxious merely at the sight of your drawing up lidocaine in the syringe? Despite your reassurance that the 18-gauge needle that you used was just to move the lidocaine into the syringe and that you’ll be using a small needle for the procedure, they don’t look very reassured. Trust is key to having the procedure go smoothly.

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2016-10-26T17:05:43-07:00

Tricks of the Trade sneak peak: Teaching procedures

Teaching procedural skills in medical school is increasing falling on the shoulders of emergency physicians. Two common problems that arise are the equipment expenses and simulation of realism. Working with my colleague Dr. Jeff Tabas, we came up some creative ideas around the teaching of (1) the Seldinger technique for central line placement and (2) saphenous vein cutdown.

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2016-10-26T17:05:43-07:00

Trick of the Trade: The Digi-Speculum

Frequently patients present to the Emergency Department for lacerations, partial amputations, and abscesses of the fingers. After repairing the wound or injury, however, a bandage can be a bit unwieldy to apply and difficult to secure. To me, an ugly bandage just seems to detract from all of the diligent work that you just put into a plastic surgeon-quality wound repair.

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2019-01-28T23:56:19-07:00