Doctors found cannabis-filled balloon up ex-inmate’s nose 18 years after he put it there.
The unidentified 48-year-old assumed he had accidentally swallowed the package, which was given to him by his girlfriend during a prison visit.
He had no idea it was stuck deep in his nose until doctors removed it, which is when he remembered trying to hide the drug in his nose.
According to the Daily Mail, which digested the report, doctors in Australia ran a CT scan on the ex-prisoner, who had apparently complained about headaches. The physicians suspected the cause was a rhinolith, which is defined by the authors of the case report as “calcareous concretions of the nasal cavity formed around a nidus that may be endogenous (eg, dislodged tooth) or an exogenous foreign body (eg, plastic bead inserted by a child).”
The scan showed a sizable lesion in one of the nasal cavities, prompting the doctors to refer the patient to an ear, nose and throat department. When questioned, he admitted to having had a ‘long history’ of getting a blocked nose and sinus infections – two other common rhinolith signs.
“During a prison visit, the patient’s girlfriend supplied him with a small quantity of marijuana, inside a rubber balloon,” the doctors wrote, as quoted by the Daily Mail. “In order to evade detection, the patient inserted the package inside his right nostril. Despite effectively smuggling the package past the prison guards, the patient then accidentally pushed the package deeper into his nostril and mistakenly believed he had swallowed it. He remained unaware of the package’s presence until presented with the unusual histopathology report.”
“To the best of our knowledge, our case represents the first report of a prison-acquired marijuana-based rhinolith,” they wrote, as most drug smuggling cases involve ingestion of the contraband. According to the authors of the case study, rhinoliths are estimated to be found in one in 10,000 otolaryngology patients, although that figure is “likely to be an underestimate due to the often asymptomatic nature of this condition.”
After undergoing surgery, the man said his symptoms were completely resolved within three months. The physicians involved in the case said it may well have been historic.
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