A 72-year-old man's partial prosthesis was inserted into the throat during surgery and left there for eight days, the British Medical Journal reported. According to a new case report published on Monday, he went to the emergency room after he had difficulty swallowing and coughing up blood.
Doctors diagnosed him with pneumonia and sent him home with antibiotics and steroids. It took another trip to the hospital to reveal the underlying problem. The man had his dentures, consisting of a metal roof and three false teeth, stuck to the top of his neck, the study says.
The man thought his dentures were lost while lying in the hospital for a minor surgery for a harmful lump more than a week earlier, according to the British study. After the prostheses were removed, he stayed in the hospital for six more days and had some complications before the healing.
The mission highlights the dangers of leaving dentures in a patient's mouth during anesthesia.
"There are no established national guidelines for how dentures should be managed during anesthesia, but it is known that providing dentures during bag ventilation allows for a better seal during induction (when anesthetics are infused) and therefore many hospitals allow dentures immediately before intubation ( when a tube is released into the airway to help breathe), "wrote the study's author, Dr. Harriet A Cunniffe, an otolaryngologist at James Paget University Hospital in the United Kingdom
"In addition to reminding us of the risks of leaving dentures during induction of anesthesia … this case also highlights a number of important learning points," Cunniffe
Cunniffe emphasized for doctors to "always listen to your patient" and not rely so heavily on imaging and laboratory tests.