When Denise Pieri embarked on removing skirting boards as part of a DIY project, she didn’t bargain for a splinter leading to an operation at Spire Hartswood Hospital. Denise, from Brentwood in Essex, is a DIY enthusiast and not afraid to tackle projects that would lead many of us to ‘call a carpenter’. 

Realising that the splinter had penetrated quite deeply into her little finger, Denise initially sought advice from a local minor injury clinic. She was advised to wait and see if the splinter would ‘find its own way out’. Denise didn’t feel comfortable with this uncertainty and sought further advice from her GP, who recommended her to Manu Sood, consultant plastic, reconstructive and hand surgeon. An ultrasound scan of Denise’s finger showed the embedded splinter. Mr Sood advised that it needed to be removed to prevent permanent damage to the finger, which might result in impaired function.

Denise, who works as a logistics manager for a leading supermarket chain, used her private medical insurance to fund the consultation and local anaesthetic surgery to remove the splinter a few days later. 

After the procedure, Denise was advised to keep the finger dry while it healed. Unfortunately, this meant cancelling a spa weekend which she had planned with her partner. “That was a small price to pay for the reassurance of speedy and expert treatment” commented Denise.

“After a few weeks, my finger has healed well and is fully functional. Mr Sood is a plastic surgeon as well as a hand surgeon, which meant that he was also concerned to give me the best possible cosmetic result with minimal scarring. It may be a while before I tackle a DIY job again though!”

The consultant's view by Mr Manu Sood, Consultant Plastic, Reconstructive and Hand Surgeon

"Denise was in quite a lot of discomfort when she came to see me. She had an infection due to a foreign body (a splinter) which measured 1.3cm in length, had been in her finger for quite a while and was causing pain. When I saw her I wanted to confirm that the splinter was superficial and had not penetrated her flexor tendon sheath which could have led to a serious infection and loss of movement and function in the finger. My colleague, Dr Tom Chan, a Consultant Radiologist, was able carry out an immediate ultrasound scan to confirm the presence of a foreign body and to rule out the presence of any infection in the flexor tendon sheath. We were able to discuss a treatment plan with her immediately on the basis of the ultrasound result.  

"I performed surgery to remove the foreign body a few days later as a planned procedure in the operating theatre at Spire Hartswood Hospital. Denise went on to heal uneventfully and was spared the uncertainty of incomplete removal of the foreign body and likely recurrent infections and pain and stiffness in the long term. 

"Her treatment is an example of the benefits that patients derive from a multi-disciplinary approach. At Spire Hartswood Hospital, patients with hand injury can expect to be seen quickly, to have a comprehensive plan and a rehabilitation programme in place at the time of their consultation, and to have an expert hand surgeon take care of what can be a potentially devastating injury or infection."