Easy fix for when your bits get zipped

WHEN it comes to certain injuries, in certain areas, none are more feared among men than those caused by a jammed trouser zipper. And inevitably, when metal teeth meet soft flesh, there will only be one winner.

But now, 100 years after the modern zip was invented by a Swedish-American engineer, a technique devised by doctors at St Mary's Hospital in London offers hope to legions of men who find themselves rushing to A&E in excruciating pain, and embarrassment, each year.

Instead of using saws or resorting to circumcision, the new method of freeing the blocked zip involves "liberal lubrication" and a device that pulls the zip apart. Tools traditionally used to break the zip and free its captive have included bone cutters and mini-hacksaws. Penis injuries caused by zips can trigger "swelling and intense pain" and can also result in blood loss and tissue damage, doctors said.

In the new procedure, a needle-holder, said to resemble a pair of scissors and normally used by doctors to hold the needle during suturing, is used to slowly pull the zipper apart. "This... is quick, non-traumatic and [uses] readily available equipment," say the St Mary's researchers in a report published in the European Journal of Emergency Medicine.

"Zipper injuries are highly distressing to patients and are often difficult to manage," they add. "Many techniques [require] sophisticated instruments in skilled hands, or even a formal operation." The technique has so far been used on two patients "ineligible for circumcision".

Only one study, in the US, has attempted to count zip-related penile injuries. University of California researchers found that over a nine-year period some 18,000 men and boys were treated at emergency units for "penile entrapment". "Owing to their location, trouser zips account for a significant proportion of penile injuries," the researchers said.

Your chance to win Simple Pleasures photo competition

Your chance to win Simple Pleasures photo competition

Love is all you need for Bruns photo comp

EDITORIAL: An idea even bigger than this headline

EDITORIAL: An idea even bigger than this headline

Strap yourself in fellow dreamers

Local Partners