Doctors at a hospital in the UK struggled for eight hours to remove a titanium ring from a man's swelling finger before chancing upon a simple, yet ingenious solution – bolt cutters.
The tale, which saved a man's finger from almost certain amputation, is detailed online in the Emergency Medicine Journal.
A man presented at Sheffield hospital in pain – the ring finger on his left hand having swelled up after a lengthy warm spa bath earlier that day.
Traditional methods to remove the ring, including lubrication, elevation to lessen the blood flow, compression and a manual ring cutter proved unsuccessful.
The local fire service couldn't even split the ring, nor could plastic surgeons who had a go after the emergency department doctors failed.
But then one surgeon had a brainwave, and grabbed a pair of bolt cutters from an operating theatre.
Less than 30 seconds later, the man's finger tasted freedom, the cut ring peeled apart with a pair of large paper clips.
"Our method used simple equipment that is readily available in most hospitals at all times, took less than 30 seconds to perform, and could be performed by a sole operator without damage to the underlying finger," the authors wrote.
Titanium is much stronger than gold and silver, but increasingly popular because it's durable, light and doesn't cause allergies.
Other equipment capable of removing titanium rings, such as dental saws and diamond-tipped drills, often take more than one healthcare professional to operate and can damage the finger they're trying to save.
"The patient made an uneventful recovery."