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Fishhook Removal
(Fish Hook)

Fishhook Removal

Fishing is a widespread leisurely activity that rarely results in an emergency. However, trauma from a fishhook piercing the skin is common. Use the following guidelines to remove a fishhook:

  • Use pliers or forceps to push the hook gently through the skin, following the curve of the hook.
  • Cut off the barb so that the unbarbed portion of the fishhook can be backed out.
  • Do not close the wound.
  • Follow wound care guidelines, especially checking on tetanus vaccine status.
  • Start antibiotics immediately.

When to Seek Medical Care

Consult a doctor about available medications for the treatment of fishhook wounds. People who experience a fishhook puncture should be immunized for tetanus if more than 5 years have passed since their last inoculation.

Synonyms and Keywords

fishhook removal, hook removal, fishing injury, fishhook wound, fishhook puncture, fishhook piercing, fish hook removal

Author and Editor

Author: Scott H Plantz, MD, FAAEM, Research Director, Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Editor: Charles P. Davis, MD, PhD

REFERENCE: AAFP.org. Fishhook Removal.

Previous contributing editors: Ivette Motola, MD, Staff Physician, Department of Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD, Senior Pharmacy Editor, eMedicine; James Kimo Takayesu, MD, Staff Physician, Department of Emergency Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital/Massachusetts General Hospital.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/24/2013
Medical Author:



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Soft tissue foreign bodies are frequently a result of penetrating or abrasive trauma and can result in substantial patient discomfort, deformity, complications involving localized and systemic infection, and further trauma during removal.

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