A 72-year-old U.K. man was experiencing an unusual pain following a surgery he underwent.
Problems began when the man, an electrician, had to get a benign lump removed from his abdominal wall, according to the case study by BMJ Case Reports.
Six days after the surgery, the man ended up back at the hospital after experiencing difficulty swallowing, pain throughout his neck and throat, and coughing up blood. He hadn’t been able to eat any solid food since he underwent the original surgery.
Doctors initially couldn’t find any problems. Medical staff examined his chest, including an X-ray on his chest, which came back normal. They treated him for respiratory tract problems, and sent him home with medication.
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. The man reportedly couldn’t sleep laying down due to shortness of breath.
After scratching out pneumonia and their original diagnosis, doctors attempted an endoscopy, and found a toothy, metal object sitting atop the man’s vocal cords.
To their surprise, it was the man’s dentures, which had “gone missing” after his surgery eight days earlier.
The authors of the BMJ report states that there are no guidelines about how to properly remove dentures before surgery, with dentures left in place making for “a better seal during induction, and many hospitals leave them in until the patient is intubated.”
According to the authors, there was no guideline about having to remove dentures before surgery. Leaving them in actually makes for a better seal during induction, and many hospitals leave them in until the patient is intubated.
Following the removal, the man returned for a check-up six weeks later, where they found no problems from the denture-ordeal.