A 36-year-old man, who accidentally swallowed a toothbrush while cleaning his throat on the advice of a quack, had it removed by doctors at the AIIMS through a non-surgical procedure.
The 12-cm-long toothbrush was removed by performing an endoscopy, a procedure in which a snare was used to pull it out from the upper abdomen.
A resident of Seemapuri in Delhi, Avid had swallowed the toothbrush on December 8 while thoroughly cleaning his throat. He did not tell anyone about it immediately. But, the next morning when he woke up with pain in the stomach, he was taken to the nearest Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital.
Avid still did not inform the doctors that he had accidentally swallowed a toothbrush.
The doctors there tried to offer him relief by administering painkillers but that did not work. An Xray and a CT scan of the chest was done but the cause of the pain could not be ascertained, Dr Praveen Aggarwal, head of the department of emergency medicine at AIIMS, said.
Then a CT scan of the abdomen was done which revealed the presence of a foreign object there. Then Avid confessed to having accidentally swallowed a toothbrush.
“As there was no facility of performing endoscopy there at the GTB Hospital at that time, he was referred to AIIMS. He was brought to the emergency department where the doctors again performed a CT scan of the abdomen to check whether the foreign object had caused any perforation or rupture in the internal organs.
“Also it was to be seen whether it had moved to the intestines. But then the tests revealed that the foreign object was stuck in the abdomen and had caused no perforation,” Dr Aggarwal said.
On December 10, the toothbrush was pulled out by gastroenterologists performing an endoscopy, he said.
Avid was discharged the same day and is doing fine.
In a similar incident, another patient, a native of Agra, Gaurav, who also had accidentally swallowed a toothbrush while clearing his throat underwent endoscopic removal of the item.
Dr Aggarwal asked people to be careful when cleaning their tongue with a brush.
“Often while cleaning the tongue, people have a tendency to put the toothbrush deep into the throat to clean it better. A better option would be to do it with a tongue cleaner,” he said.