Oct. 31 (UPI) -- A team of Australian doctors said they removed a marijuana-filled balloon from inside the nose of a man who inserted the object into his nostril 18 years earlier.
The doctors at Westmead Hospital in Sydney wrote in the British Medical Journal's Case Reports that the patient, a former prison inmate, recalled his girlfriend had smuggled a small balloon filled with cannabis to him during a visit to the prison 18 years ago.
The man said he inserted the balloon into his right nostril to evade detection
"Despite effectively smuggling the package past the prison guards, [he] then accidentally pushed the package deeper into his nostril and mistakenly believed he had swallowed it," the doctors wrote in the report, which was titled A nose out of joint.
The doctors said the man, now 48, had the balloon in his nose for 18 years before years of sinus infections, nasal obstructions and related headaches led him to seek medical attention.
The medical team performed a CT scan and discovered a rhinolith, a stone that developed when the balloon was enveloped in calcium salts over time.
The rhinolith was removed and doctors discovered it contained a balloon filled with decaying plant matter.
The man then recalled the cannabis-smuggling incident and recounted the object's origins to the doctors.
The team said the case marked the "first reported case of prison-acquired marijuana-based rhinolith."