One thing surgeons sometimes have to deal with is foreign objects placed in various orifices. As a general surgeon, I’ve seen various objects swallowed or placed in the rectum or nose. But I’ve never seen a case like this one described by RangelMD:

The other day the topic came up (don’t ask how) about cases where foreign objects are inserted into various human orifi (and I don’t mean green beans up the nose). One “interesting” (read, “difficult for males to listen to”) case involved an apparently bored male who decided to insert a strand of weed eater line into his urethra.

Once the line reached the bladder it curled up and the distal end retracted further into the urethra so that he was not able to pull it out. This was followed by the requisite trip to the local ER, urology consult, the semi amused looks and hushed voices of the staff, and an interesting cystoscopy to remove the lost line (ICD-9 code 939.0 Foreign body in genitourinary tract, Bladder and urethra).

This story grossed even me out…


  1. #1 TheProbe
    April 9, 2006

    Reminds me of an old Rodney Dangerfield line…We were so poor growing up that if I wasn’t a boy I woul dnot have hand anything to play with.

  2. #2 clarkbar2019
    April 9, 2006

    I’ll never forget a lecture I attended in medical school about this very subject. It seems that 939.0 is a common ICD9 code used by prison physicians. We viewed films of a variety of objects inserted by the prisoners such as chains(the kind worn around the neck not the kind used to support my front porch swing) and metal shavings. Some cases were apparently for pleasure of some kind but most were merely a way to get out of prison for a little while.

  3. #3 clone3g
    April 9, 2006

    It may have been an accident. What, you’ve never fallen on your weed Whacker the wrong way?

  4. #4 GrrlScientist
    April 9, 2006

    wow, it’s safe to say that 99.999999% of the human population has never been THAT bored. ever. maybe that guy should buy a TV? it’s lots cheaper than a visit to the ER.

  5. #5 Emily
    April 9, 2006

    You should try Chuck Palahniuk’s short story “Guts.” There’s a nice anecdote about a similar incident involving a long string of wax.

  6. #6 Dianne
    April 10, 2006

    Reminds me of a story from med school. Warning: I only saw the X-ray, not the patient, so can’t verify that the statements attributed to him are true. I’m pretty sure the X-ray couldn’t be faked, although for reasons that will become obvious I do sometimes wonder if I wasn’t duped. Anyway…For reasons that were unclear to anyone else, the patient decided that it would be a good idea to insert a chicken bone into his urethra. Specifically, a drumstick bone. (My question at that point was not “why?” but “how?”…I mean, compare the size of the bone to the size of the urethra…) So far, so good, apparently, from his point of view. What brought him into the ER was when the bone broke*. I was only a second year med student at the time and was too stunned to ask the obvious question, but I’ve wondered since then: how did they get the bits out? It looked…challenging**.

    * I saw a picture of the X-ray. It showed a very splintered chicken bone apparently inside a man’s urethra. With splinters that looked like the poked through in very unpleasant ways. In short, kids, don’t try this at home!
    ** But then again don’t surgeons like a good challenge now and again?

  7. #7 Doofus
    April 10, 2006

    Beats my “thumb up my ass” story…

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