Do you ever run with pencils, work with 15-inch drill bits or tend to not duck when people hurl butter knives at you? Some of the images listed below may convince you to change your ways. Or, perhaps — as hospital technician — you’ve seen a few images in this list of 25 unbelievable X-ray images that show objects lodged inside the human body. In all cases listed below, the patients recovered nicely, despite some initial doubt.
Ingesting Foreign Bodies
- Chicken Bone Syndrome: A soft-tissue neck X-ray revealed the ‘foreign body’ stuck in this man’s trachea, as shown in the Internet Journal of Emergency and Intensive Care Medicine. The patient underwent rigid endoscopy to remove this chicken bone.
- Eyetec: According to this company, x-rays are good at imaging highly opaque objects such as the metallic foreign body shown in this article by Eyetec.
- Life in the Fast Lane: Scroll down through various x-rays on this page to view this image of a few bits of cutlery and what seems to be a Swiss Army knife in this person’s body.
- An Entire Canteen of Cutlery: This MailOnline article goes into the story in depth about this image that shows 78 different spoons and forks in a woman’s body. Surgeons removed the pieces one by one.
- Oman Medical Journal: In the second case on this page, an eighteen-year-old “morbidly obese” lady was admitted to hospital after swallowing three A4 batteries.
- A Call in the Night: This New York anesthesiology resident shares an image of a child who swallowed a penny, along with commentary about how a coin looks in various positions within the airways.
- The Internet Journal of Surgery: This patient was on antidepressant treatment with poor compliance, and — although admitted for a self-inflicted wound — was found to have swallowed fourteen sharp metallic foreign bodies (meaning, nails and washers or nuts).
- Toothbrush Love: This is one of many radiographic images uploaded by Surfactant at Flickr. In this image, which needs an arrow to point to the toothbrush, the X-ray shows its limitations. The toothbrush probably did not contain metal, and it seems to blend in with the soft tissue in this image.
- Swallowed Needle Migrates to Liver: A teenage girl was admitted to emergency with complaints of abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. This X-ray revealed a needle on right hepatic lobe localization, and doctors could not remove it during the first surgery. The needle was removed after it had migrated to the liver, however.
Stabbed with Foreign Bodies
- Boy Stabbed with 10-Inch Knife: The UK Mirror reported a story about a teenager who was stabbed through the head with a 10-inch knife during a fight over a computer game. The boy walked to the hospital and doctors managed to remove the knife.
- Boy Stabbed with Butter Knife: Four inches of the blade was lodged between Tyler’s scalp and skull, above his right ear, as seen in this cat scan, when another boy hurled the knife at this eleven-year-old boy. The knife was removed by doctors and Tyler walked away with five stitches.
- Drill Bit Troubles: Snopes tackled this incident as a topic of urban legend, as it seemed impossible that this man could survive. But, after falling on an 18-inch-long chip auger drill bit, the doctor had a stroke of genius. Instead of cutting the drill bit out, the doctor unscrewed it.
- Don’t Run with Pencils: Penetrating wounds to the eye constitute up to 50 percent of all traumatic eye injuries. In this case, a four-year-old girl fell on a pencil she held and suffered a left orbitocranial penetrating injury through the superior fornix.
- Man Survives Nail Gun Incident: Nail guns are dangerous, and have been used as weapons. In this incident, however, the construction worker who fell and received shots to the head from a nail gun recovered from the accident.
- Toddler with Car Keys in Eye: Don’t leave your keys lying around…your toddler might fall on them and pierce something, just as Nicholas Holderman did at 20 months. One key penetrated his eyelid and deep into his brain. Doctors were able to remove the key during surgery with no brain damage and the tot has recovered with perfect vision.
- Man with Nail in Head Talks: This news posted at a Denver station reveals a construction worker who used a nail gun that recoiled. He didn’t realize that he shot a nail into his head until he visited his dentist for a toothache and the X-ray revealed a four-inch nail lodged in his skull. His wife is a nurse, and she convinced him to get the X-ray.
- Luckiest Man Alive: The Australian Herald Sun reported that Shafique el-Fahkri, age 19, was admitted to Royal Melbourne Hospital with the metal chair leg embedded through his head to his neck, where it had partially severed an artery. Nineteen days after admission, he walked away with no brain damage or sight loss.
- The Michael Hill Incident: While at a friend’s residence in Jacksonville, Florida, Hill answered the door and an unknown person stabbed him in the skull. He then walked down the street to another friend’s house before he had the knife surgically removed. This now-famous X-ray of the knife in Hill’s skull was on display during the grand opening celebration of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Odditorium in New York.
- The Case of the Ricochet Watch: A watchmaker sustained an injury to his face at his workplace. He claimed that the base of the wristwatch he was working on with a pick bounced off the table at high speed toward his cheek. Paranasal sinus X-Ray revealed an oval radio opaque foreign body in the left maxillary sinus.
- Stabbed in Line of Duty: An X-ray reveals that a knife entered just below Army Sgt. Dan Powers’ helmet, above his cheekbone. It also penetrated his cavernous sinus, where a bundle of veins supplied blood to his brain’s right side. But, he survived, thanks to “extraordinary hustle from a string of ground medics, air medics, C-17 pilots, jet refuel technicians and more.”
- Self-Embedding Syndrome: Known also as self-embedding disorder, this is a practice that includes self-injury and self-inflicted foreign body insertion in adolescents, usually without suicidal intent. Radiologists are in the position to first detect this disorder. Embedded objects include metal needles, metal staples, metal paperclips, glass, wood, plastic, graphite (pencil lead), crayon and stone.
Surgically-Introduced Foreign Bodies
- Catheter Wire: Fortunately, this case had a sharp crew and a way to immediately address the situation of a broken catheter that had migrated to the right atrium in this 25-day-old infant. This is one of two cases on this site that talk about broken catheters…both which were ‘snared’ and removed without incident from the infants’ bodies.
- Scissors left in Woman after Surgery: This MSNBC story tells all, and the X-ray tells even more. The woman had part of her colon removed in May 2001, but she continued to suffer intense abdominal pain. The 6.7-inch-long scissors were discovered a year later.
- Retained Surgical Sponges: Surgical sponges and lap pads are the most frequently retained objects within the patient after a surgical procedure. These objects can result in serious conditions including sepsis, intestinal obstruction, fistula or abscess formation and adhesion.
- Lance Armstrong’s Screws: These metal objects were purposely inserted into Lance Armstrong’s shoulder to enable a shoulder bone to stabilize after Armstrong fell during a race. The reparation included an almost five-inch steel plate embedded by a dozen one-inch screws.
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