Surgery patient's missing dentures found lodged in his throat

By Ben Hooper
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Aug. 13 (UPI) -- Doctors at a British hospital said a man whose dentures were missing after a surgical procedure was scanned with an X-ray eight days later and they were found lodged in his throat.

Dr. Harriet Cunniffe of James Paget Hospital in Norfolk, England, wrote in a study published Monday in the British Medical Journal that the 72-year-old patient returned to the hospital six days after surgery to remove a lump in his abdominal wall complaining of difficulties breathing and swallowing.


He was sent home with a prescription for mouthwash, antibiotics and steroids, but his symptoms worsened and he returned to the hospital again two days later.

An X-ray revealed the man's false teeth, which had been missing since his surgery, were lodged in his throat, causing internal blistering and swelling.

The man underwent surgery to remove the false teeth and was released from the hospital again six days later. Cunniffe and her team said the man returned to the hospital to be treated for some complications, but eventually made a full recovery.

The doctors wrote that the case highlights the risks of leaving dentures in during the administering of anesthesia.


"This case also highlights a number of important learning points," Cunniffe and her colleagues wrote. "The first is to always listen to your patient. It has long been known that one gets the majority of the information needed to form a diagnosis based on the patients' history."

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