Man’s missing false teeth found stuck in throat 8 days after surgery
16 August, 2019, 16:53
An X-ray of a patient who was left with his dentures in his throat after surgery. He was sent back home with antibiotics and mouthwash after doctors were unable to identify the problem.
After the doctors disclosed what they found, the patient mentioned that he had lost his dentures after undergoing the minor operation 8 days earlier.
"There are no set national guidelines on how dentures should be managed during anaesthesia", it read.
The case report says there are not national guidelines in the United Kingdom about what should be done with dentures before an operation, and multiple US-based care providers only recommend informing your doctor that you wear dentures before an operation.
When told this, the man said his dentures - a metal roof plate and three false teeth - were lost during his previous hospital stay for his abdominal surgery. In two days, he was back at the hospital again - this time with even more symptoms.
Over the next six weeks, however, his tissue healed, he did not require any more emergency care, and his blood count returned to normal, according to the August 12 BMJ Case Reports.
He couldn't even swallow the medication he was discharged with and had to sleep upright on the sofa as he found it hard to breathe when lying down.
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The man then immediately underwent emergency surgery to remove the dentures.
The man was rushed to surgery, where the dentures were removed. Doctors eventually determined that the bleeding was due to internal wound tissue around the blistering caused by his false teeth.
In a 2016 study of 83 cases where dentures ended up in a person's airways, six cases occurred while the patient was under general anesthesia.
Following the removal, the man returned for a check-up six weeks later, where they found no problems from the denture-ordeal. More recently, a case report published in May detailed an incident of a 50-year-old man swallowing his dentures during sedation.
"This case is important as it highlights a number of key learning points for anesthetists, theatre staff, emergency physicians and ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeons alike", wrote the authors.
While the chest X-ray and bloodwork indicated a respiratory infection, the tests "acted as a distraction", she wrote.
Cunniffe stressed to doctors to "always listen to your patient" and not rely as heavily on imaging and laboratory tests.
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