Published: Wed, August 14, 2019
Medical | By

Caution: remove false teeth before surgery

Caution: remove false teeth before surgery

Over the next six weeks, he was trapped in a cycle where the bleeding from his throat seemed to stop and he was discharged from the hospital, only for him to start bleeding again and being readmitted.

However, two days later, he returned to the hospital for a third time, this time with worsening symptoms that left him unable to swallow the medication he had been given.

The unnamed man, described as a 72-year-old retired electrician, went to the emergency room because he was having difficulty swallowing and was coughing up blood, according to an article in the BMJ, a United Kingdom -based medical journal.

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.

The report concluded that all members of surgical teams must be aware of dentures before and after surgery, as well know what to do with them during the procedure. He was taken to the emergency theatre where surgeons fought tooth and nail to remove the dentures using forceps.

Hazel Stuart, James Paget University Hospital Medical Director, said: "We had an incident in 2018 and as soon as it was identified the patient was advised and an apology provided by the clinical lead".

While examining his throat, doctors found "a metallic semicircular object overlying the vocal cords and completely obstructing their view".


On his sixth - and last - slog to the hospital, the doctors discovered a torn artery and performed another round of emergency surgery. It took another hospital visit before another X-ray revealed the problem: His dentures - a metal roof plate and three false teeth - lodged at the top of his throat.

Tests revealed he had internal wound tissue around the site of the blistering which was cauterised to prevent further bleeding.

But six days later a bout of bleeding prompted his return. The man was rushed into another emergency surgery to fix the artery and appeared to recover well from the procedure, the report said.

The wild case highlights the need to remove false teeth before going under anesthetic, the report states.

Noting a history of lung problems, doctors assumed he had a respiratory infection, according to BMJ Case Reports, a medical journal that describes medically noteworthy cases.

In the United Kingdom, "there are no set national guidelines on how dentures should be managed during anesthesia", the authors wrote in a journal news release.

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