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NEW MOMS BEWARE: TOE TOURNIQUET SYNDROME

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by CG News Desk

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Regular inspection of a baby's toes could prevent a condition that, while rare, could result in permanent tissue damage or even loss of an appendage. “The condition, referred to as toe tourniquet syndrome, occurs when a loose hair or thread becomes so tightly wrapped around a baby's toes that pain, swelling and discoloration occur," says Long Island plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Elliot Duboys. Fingers can also get wrapped up, but the toes are most often the victims. And when babies are affected, it's usually at an age when their mothers' post-delivery hair loss is at its peak — around four months after the birth.” While exact incidence of the condition is not known, it is one that most pediatricians and emergency room physicians will see at least once in their careers, says Dr. Duboys, who was recently called upon to save an infant's penis that had nearly been strangled by his mother's long hair. Once, he also saved an infant's toe that otherwise would have required amputation. Although Dr. Duboys says the syndrome is not often thought of by parents or advised by pediatricians, he urges that the key to prevention is inspecting a baby's toes at least twice a day. He further cautions that mothers with long hair should be extra vigilant. Turning babies' footed clothing inside out to check for stray hairs is also important, he says. — K.M.

 


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