CT scan (A,B) and 3D reconstruction (C) showing the embedded chopstick pieces. (Elsevier 2021)

Woman Ends Up With Chopstick Fragments Undetected in Her Sinuses For a Week

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RACHAEL RETTNER, LIVE SCIENCE
29 JUNE 2021

A woman in Taiwan unknowingly had two chopstick fragments lodged in her sinuses for a week after a violent fight with her sister, according to a new report.

The 29-year-old woman went to the emergency room after she was "attacked by her sister with plastic-wood chopsticks while at the dinner table," according to the report, published June 24 in The Journal of Emergency Medicine.

 

The woman said she had experienced a mild nosebleed and swelling in her left eye after the attack. Doctors saw that she had two small cuts under her eye and on her nose. But an X-ray did not show anything unusual.

Doctors observed two small wounds under her eye and nose. (Elsevier 2021)Doctors observed two small wounds under her eye and nose. (Elsevier 2021)

However, one week later, the woman began to suspect that her injury was more serious than it appeared.

She noticed that "some parts of the chopsticks used in the attack were missing," according to the report authors, from Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital in Taiwan. And when she looked in the mirror, she thought she could see a gray object in her nose. 

Related: 27 oddest medical cases

A doctor then examined the inside of her nose and saw pieces of chopstick penetrating her nasal septum, or the wall dividing the two nasal passages, the report said. A CT scan showed two chopstick pieces in her sinuses, with one embedded more deeply than the other.

The route that the chopsticks followed to enter the woman's skull was the same as the route doctors use when performing surgery on the ethmoid sinuses - which are located between the corner of your eye and the bridge of your nose - to treat sinus infections.

The woman needed surgery to remove the fragments, which were about 1.4 inches (3.5 centimeters) and 2 inches (5 cm) long, respectively, according to the report. She experienced no surgical complications.

Chopstick fragments after they were removed. (Elsevier 2021)Chopstick fragments after they were removed. (Elsevier 2021)

Emergency room doctors should be aware that foreign bodies entering the skull the way these chopsticks did "could present only as tiny laceration wounds and may be asymptomatic," the authors wrote.

If doctors suspect a foreign body lodged near the nose, it's important they perform an examination of the ears, nose and throat, as well as a CT scan to identify it as soon as possible, they said. 

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This article was originally published by Live Science. Read the original article here.