Medicine

British Man Recovers After Swallowing Dentures During Surgery

British Man Recovers After Swallowing Dentures During Surgery

Following the removal, the man returned for a check-up six weeks later, where they found no problems from the denture-ordeal.

The mishap highlights the dangers of leaving dentures in a patient's mouth during anesthesia. The man and the hospital weren't identified.

The man then immediately underwent emergency surgery to remove the dentures.

When a 72-year-old man from the United Kingdom went to the emergency room after having trouble swallowing solid food, he got a diagnosis that he likely wasn't expecting to hear: His dentures were actually lodged in his voice box. He hadn't been able to eat any solid food since he underwent the original surgery.

An X-ray shows dentures in a senior's throat.

Six days after having a benign lump removed from his belly while under general anaesthesia, Jack turned up at the emergency room. Two days later, though, he was back, the pain in his throat so bad he couldn't even take the medication he'd been prescribed.

But it soon became apparent he had been brushed off and he was forced to return to A&E twodays later with worsening pain in his throat, still coughing up blood and with a hoarse breathy voice. The man reportedly couldn't sleep laying down due to shortness of breath.

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Doctors were concerned that he had developed pneumonia from inhaling something and admitted him to the hospital. Loose teeth could be knocked down the throat when tubes are put into the airway.

That's when a nasendoscopy - a fibre optic camera on the end of a tube inserted through a nostril - revealed a large, semicircular object covering his vocal cords.

Unbelievable x-ray images clearly show the dentures - a metal roof plate and three false teeth - lodged in his throat. A trip to the X-ray provided confirmation and the man was whisked off to the operating room, where the dentures were plucked out with a pair of forceps.

He returned suffering complications on multiple occasions over the following month, before eventually healing. During one visit, doctors estimated he had lost 1.5 liters of blood, or about three pints. Emergency surgery was ordered. Once, a patient inhaled dentures and ended up dying, the report says.

Details of the man's case emerged in the journal BMJ Case Reports, in which authors recommend that false teeth be taken out before general anaesthetic. He later passed the false teeth through his digestive system, the article said.

While the chest X-ray and bloodwork indicated a respiratory infection, the tests "acted as a distraction", she wrote.

The man, who clearly had not had his problem fixed, went back in with a cough that would not stop, and totally unable to swallow the medication he was given. While the patient featured in the new case report healed well, these stories don't always have a happy ending.