• Vol. 33 No. 3, 379–381
  • 15 May 2004

Head and Neck Cancer After Foreign Body Ingestion



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Introduction: Ingestion of a foreign body is a common occurrence in our population. We present 2 cases that illustrate an unusual outcome of an otherwise usual occurrence.

Clinical Picture: Two patients who presented with a history of ingestion of fish bones were worked up. The radiological findings were suspicious of a foreign body and both underwent examination under general anaesthesia. The endoscopic findings were normal. After further evaluation for persistent calcifications with computed tomography, a thyroid malignancy was found in the first patient and tongue cancer in the second patient.

Treatment: The first patient underwent elective hemithyroidectomy and the second underwent wide excision of the tumour with neck dissection.

Outcome: Both recovered uneventfully with regular follow-up in the outpatient clinic.

Conclusion: There should be a high index of suspicion in patients with persistent calcifications.

Foreign bodies ingested accidentally and lodged in the upper aerodigestive tract is one of the most common emergencies seen in the Otorhinolaryngology practice in Singapore. We present 2 cases which illustrate an unusual outcome of an otherwise usual occurrence.

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