Surgeonfish Cuts Overview
Surgeonfish (also known as the doctorfish, or tang) is a tropical reef fish that has bladelike spines "knives" on their sides near the tail, which can inflict deep lacerations (cuts). These blades are retractable. There are approximately 75 species of surgeonfish, and are in tropical and subtropical waters of the Indo-Pacific Ocean, Atlantic, Caribbean, and the Red Sea. Surgeonfish tend to ignore divers and move away when approached. Their spines may cause deep penetrating wounds.
Surgeonfish do not have venom or toxin associated with them.
Surgeonfish Cuts Symptoms
The laceration from a surgeonfish is immediately painful and usually deep. It will actively bleed. It is rare to have symptoms beyond the laceration but when it does happen there can be nausea, muscle aches, and anxiety.
Surgeonfish Cuts Treatment
When to Seek Medical Care
A person with a surgeonfish cut may require medical attention to to control bleeding, or in rare cases may need stitches if the laceration is long or very wide.
Medically reviewed by Martin E Zipser, MD; American Board of Surgery
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/12/2015
Scott D. Fell, DO, FAAEM
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