Woman Had Plastic Chopsticks Embedded in Her Skull for a Week and Didn’t Even Know It

Taiwanese doctors recently reported the unusual case of a young woman who apparently had two chopstick fragments lodged in her face for a week, without even knowing.

The 29-year-old unnamed woman reportedly went to a hospital emergency room after a violent fight with her sister left her with two minor lacerations on the nose and under her left eye. Doctors examined her and even performed an X-ray, which didn’t show anything out of the ordinary. The woman left the hospital, but as the days went by, she started to suspect that her wounds were more serious than she had originally thought. Pieces of the plastic chopsticks her sister had attacked her with were missing, and she started to think that there was something stuck in her nose.

Photo:  Elsevier 2021

A week after her first ER visit, the young Taiwanese woman returned to the hospital, and told doctors her new discoveries. A thorough examination revealed pieces of chopstick penetrating her nasal septum – the wall dividing the two nasal passages – and she underwent a CT scan which showed that she had two large fragments of chopsticks embedded deep in her sinuses.

One of the plastic chopstick fragments was about 1.4 inches (3.5 centimeters) and the other was 2 inches (5 cm) long. After analyzing the positions of the foreign bodies and the wounds on the woman’s face, doctors determined that those two small cuts were actually the entry points of the fragments.

Photo:  Elsevier 2021

Interestingly, the chopstick pieces reportedly entered the woman’s skull through the same “route” that doctors use when performing surgery on the ethmoid sinuses, which are located between the corner of your eye and the bridge of the nose.

The unnamed woman needed surgery to remove the fragments, and experienced no complications during the procedure. The case report was published in The Journal of Emergency Medicine on June 24, and the authors emphasized the need for thorough examination, as even the tiniest wounds can hide serious health problems.

Photo:  Elsevier 2021

While living with foreign bodies embedded in the skull for so long sounds crazy, the fact is that some people have lived with all kinds of stuff – from coins to plastic discs –  in their nose for decades.

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