Chinese doctors are baffled after removing a spoon that had been stuck in a man’s throat for more than a year.
According to Xinjiang Coal Mine General Hospital, a man in his early 20s swallowed a spoon in 2017 after playing a game with friends. During the game, the man known only as Mr. Zhang swallowed the 20cm steel spoon.
It became lodged in his oesophagus, although the man didn’t notice any pain or discomfort. Not bothered, he decided not to seek medical treatment. He lived a normal life until this year when he was punched in the chest.
The man began noticing pain and wasn’t breathing properly, so arrived at the Xinjiang Coal Mine General Hospital for treatment.
After taking an X-Ray of the man’s chest, doctors discovered the spoon still stuck in his oesophagus.
“I was very surprised,” Director of Otorhinolaryngology Yu Xiwu said in a statement. “I have never encountered a similar patient.”
He said the man was in severe pain and was experiencing breathing problems. If the spoon wasn’t removed, it could have been life-threatening. After discussing at length the best way to remove the spoon, doctors agreed to perform surgery under general anaesthetic.
It took three doctors two hours to remove the spoon. They had to be very careful so they didn’t tear the patient’s oesophagus or cause infection. In the end, they used forceps to remove the spoon out of the man’s mouth. This avoided the medical team having to cut the patient’s chest open in order to remove the kitchen utensil.
When removed, the spoon was covered in mucus. Images of the removal have now been shared online.
Zhang spent two days in hospital before being discharged. The operation occurred last month and the man has now recovered fully.
Doctors have reminded people that when foreign bodies enter the oesophagus or stomach, they can quite easily become life-threatening. It follows another bizarre medical story where a woman suffered an injury during a minor procedure that caused her entire torso to fill up with faeces.
Called faecal impacting, the condition is an extreme form of constipation, in which the bowel entirely stops working on its own, causing the waste to build up until it can’t be passed from the body. It can be caused by excessive use of laxatives, a well as opioid drugs, a lack of exercise, or regular bouts of constipation. It’s more common in older people.