Tungsten Ring

A patient presents with a tungsten ring on their injured finger and is unable to remove the ring. Tungsten rings are unique in that ring cutters can’t even make a scratch in them. There are even anecdotes of firefighter equipment not being able to cut off these “unbreakable” rings.


Vice grip Wrench

Trick of the Trade: Removing a Tungsten Ring

Use a vise grip wrench

While unscratchable, tungsten rings are very brittle and not malleable. Gently apply firm compression using an adjustable vise grip (borrow from your hospital’s electrical or engineering department). This will fracture the ring. Carefully collect the pieces, which may have sharp edges. The YouTube videos below interestingly were made by tungsten ring retailers. Thanks to Dr. Gregg Miller (San Joaquin Community Hospital in Bakersfield, CA) for this tip.



(start at the 1:00 mark to skip ahead to the important part)

Michelle Lin, MD
ALiEM Founder and CEO
Professor and Digital Innovation Lab Director
Department of Emergency Medicine
University of California, San Francisco
Michelle Lin, MD


Professor of Emerg Med at UCSF-Zuckerberg SF General. ALiEM Founder @aliemteam #PostitPearls at https://t.co/50EapJORCa Bio: https://t.co/7v7cgJqNEn
Michelle Lin, MD