EMERGENCY MEDICINE, Volume 21, Number 6: Page 96,
March 30, 1989.



Win one from the zipper

Preoccupied Males—small boys usually—who neglect the proper precautions when zipping up their pants can get caught on the fly. That usually causes a great deal of discomfort, and any attempt to move the slide device only increases the pain and the likelihood of damage to the penile skin. Dr. William R. Law of Baltimore handles the problem by cutting the slide at the top where the front and back sections join, using a pair of high-leverage side-cutting pliers. One snip will do it: the back section of the slide will fall free from the zipper teeth, immediately releasing the skin. If such pliars are not in your armamentarium, they are readily available from the tool pouch carried by any general maintenance person. Dr. Law has yet to be refused "preoperative permission" for this quick and painless procedure, which destroys the patient's zipper but saves his skin.

Dr. Allan Raskin and nurse Elizabeth Patnaude of Pawtucket, R.I. approach the problem from the opposite direction. They use strong scissors to cut across the zipper horizontally below the trapped skin. The zipper teeth can then be pulled apart, which will free the skin. This too ruins the zipper, of course.

Dr. Chalfin is a family practitioner in private practice in Bellows Falls, Vt.

(File revised 20 May 2004)