Surgery patient's missing dentures found lodged in his throat

Grant Boone
August 14, 2019

"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)", study said.

The report states: "On explaining this to the patient, he revealed that his dentures had been lost during his general surgery admission eight days earlier and consisted of a metallic roof plate and three front teeth". For six days following the procedure, he experienced a variety of symptoms, including bleeding in his throat, shortness of breath, and difficulty swallowing that prohibited him from eating solid food.

Doctors initially suspected his symptoms were the result of a respiratory infection, possibly mixed with the after-effects of having been intubated during the surgery.

During the patient's first return to the emergency room, doctors were unable to diagnose the problem and the unnamed man was sent home with a prescription for mouthwash, antibiotics and steroids.

In the British case, after the dentures were removed, the man had several bouts of bleeding that required more surgery before he recovered.

After a blunder during an operation, a pensioner spent over a week with his dentures unknowingly stuck 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.

Armed man arrested in Sydney stabbing incident
Video of the man's rampage shows him brandishing a large knife while jumping on a vehicle and screaming "shoot me in the head". Police have linked the murder of a woman to a stabbing rampage in central Sydney which left another woman in hospital.

A patient's false teeth became stuck in his throat in a routine operation, and were not found for eight days.

Aside from experiencing considerable pain, bleeding, and swallowing difficulties, the oversight led to repeated hospital visits, additional invasive tests, blood transfusions, and eventually more surgery.

The authors recommend carefully documenting the presence of dentures and other prosthetics both before and after any surgery to make sure that they are accounted for. The bleeding got so severe that he needed multiple blood transfusions. It turned out that an artery had been torn in the wound.

"Listen to the story the patient is telling you and do not be distracted by positive findings on investigations", Cunniffe wrote.

The case report says that this isn't the first time that a patient has inhaled something while being operated on. Cunniffe was able to find at least 83 such cases reported during a 15-year-span, including one case that tragically ended in death.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER