Medical team locates 88-yr-old woman’s missing dentures – in her stomach!

An 88-year-old woman accidentally swallowed her dentures and it took an intrepid medical team to find them after she assumed she misplaced her choppers.

It turns out the Dallas, Texas woman didn’t “mysteriously” misplace her lower dentures, she’d swallowed them during dinner. Doctors found them in her stomach when she was rushed to the emergency department of UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Her family took her to the hospital when they couldn’t find the dentures that suddenly “disappeared,” according to Fox News.

When she got to the hospital, the woman was suffering little to no pain from swallowing the teeth and apparently had no issues with swallowing in general. She claimed she felt fine. Her vital signs all appeared normal as well.

The octogenarian did have a history of stroke, Alzheimer’s-related dementia, and lymphoma of the brain, so doctors decided it was appropriate to perform an endoscopy. They wanted to see if she had swallowed the dentures without realizing she had done so or had forgotten that she did. It took about two hours to do the procedure.

After the doctors found out where the teeth were, they reinserted the scope, this time with a foreign body hood protector attached to the tip. They tried several times to retrieve the teeth and were finally able to grab the dentures with the forceps-like device and remove them.

The elderly woman had no significant injuries after the incident and was sent home the next day, according to Fox News.

Doctors pointed to the woman’s history of dementia and her overall health history as playing into her being unaware of the pain that she may have experienced with the denture passing down into her stomach.

Surprisingly, the doctors said that dentures are commonly swallowed by older adults. Although the hospital’s press office would not discuss the patient’s condition due to privacy regulations, they did refer Fox News to a case study.

They also stated, “Dentures are actually one of the most commonly ingested items in adults. Others include bones, chicken or fish, and jewelry.”

“A prior study estimated that 1,500 individuals in the United States die annually from this phenomenon,” the physicians added.

“Foreign body ingestion is an under-recognized hazard in adults, especially in the elderly where it may lead to significant morbidity and even mortality,” the study pointed out.

“We present the case of an elderly patient who ingested her denture without any reported symptoms. After early recognition, endoscopic retrieval of the item was performed. We provide support for endoscopy as a safe and effective intervention for removing ingested foreign bodies in the geriatric population,” the study continued.

“In most cases, the [foreign] material in question will pass through the GI tract unimpeded. However, endoscopic retrieval in adults is required in roughly 20% of cases and emergency surgery is necessary another 1% of the time,” the study noted.

The study involving an “elderly patient that resulted in a difficult, yet successful, endoscopic recovery” was published in late 2020.

There are other case reports that document patients’ ordeals where they have swallowed partial dentures and the resulting medical procedures performed afterward.

One of the experts who detailed these cases concluded, “Nursing home caregivers [should] be aware that even a sizable partial denture can be swallowed and extra vigilance is essential in caring for dementia patients.”

Many wonder how someone could possibly swallow dentures and not know it but dementia makes it very possible.

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