Missing dentures found stuck in United Kingdom man’s throat

72-year-old man's dentures got stuck in his throat during surgery and weren't discovered for 8 days

72-year-old man's dentures got stuck in his throat during surgery and weren't discovered for 8 days

The man's case brings attention to the risks of leaving dentures in the mouths of patients undergoing surgeries that require general anesthesia, wrote the article's author, Harriet A. Cunniffe, an otolaryngologist at James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in the United Kingdom.

After six days, he discovered that his mouth was filling with blood and that he was finding it hard to swallow. However his symptoms and side effects pointed to a respiratory infection, which can be common for patients who have had a tube down their throat during surgery, so he was prescribed steroids, antibiotics and mouthwash and sent home.

The man knew his dentures were missing, but didn't realize where they were.

The authors of the study wrote: "There are no set national guidelines on how dentures should be managed during anaesthesia, but it is known that leaving dentures in during bag-mask ventilation allows for a better seal during induction (when the anaesthetic is being infused), and therefore many hospitals allow dentures to be removed immediately before intubation (when a tube is inserted into the airway to assist breathing)". However, it was reported that the medical staff failed to remove his dentures before the procedure began.

Two days later, he returned to A&E after his symptoms appeared to get worse - he was unable to swallow any of the medicine he was admitted with suspected pneumonia. After carrying out a flexible endoscopy, doctors discovered "a metallic semicircular object" over his vocal cords which was obstructing their view.

The metal plate with three front teeth had been causing internal blistering and swelling. 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 remained in the hospital for another six days.

According to BMJ Case Reports medical journal, the man returned to A&E complaining that he was unable to swallow any of his medication.

However, a bout of bleeding forced him to return once more six days later, followed by a second visit 10 days after that, and a third six days after being discharged again. The most likely scenario is that the man had inhaled them when he was intubated.

The report states that a check-up a week later showed his wound was healing and after six weeks he didn't need any more emergency care.

The British man's experience also emphasizes another important lesson for doctors: "Always listen to your patient", Cunniffe wrote.

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