Prisoner has cannabis removed from nose 18 YEARS after he put it there

Ex-prisoner has a rubber balloon full of cannabis removed from his nose 18 YEARS after he put it there to smuggle it past guards

  • The 48-year-old assumed that he had accidentally swallowed the package 
  • The rubber capsule was given to him by his girlfriend during a prison visit 
  • He said he had no idea it was stuck deep in his nose until doctors removed it 

A prisoner has had a rubber balloon containing cannabis removed from his nose – 18 years after he put it there to smuggle it past guards.

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.

The mass was a cannabis-based rhinolith, a mass which slowly develops when deposits build up over a foreign object over several years.

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

Doctors in Australia conducted a CT scan of his brain, after he complained of headaches – a common symptom of a rhinolith.

It showed a 1.9cm x 1.1cm grey lesion in his right nasal cavity and he was referred to the ear, nose and throat department at Sydney’s Westmead Hospital.

When questioned, he admitted to having had a ‘long history’ of getting a blocked nose and sinus infections – two other common rhinolith signs.

Doctors removed the man’s foreign body, which they noted was a ‘rubber capsule containing degenerate vegetable or plant matter’.

Writing in the British Medical Journal Case Reports, medics revealed they found out it was cannabis after quizzing the patient. It is unclear what they did with the drug.

WHAT IS A RHINOLITH? 

Rhinoliths are rare, accounting for one in 10,000 patients who are treated at an ear, nose and throat unit, figures suggest.

The unusual masses slowly develop when deposits of calcium and mucus build up over a foreign object, including beads, buttons and even teeth.

Symptoms include headaches – the symptom the man sought help for, as well as nasal obstruction, discharge and even facial pain.

The team who treated this patient said: ‘To the best of our knowledge, our case represents the first report of a prison-acquired marijuana-based rhinolith.’

Medics, led by Dr Eugene Wong, added this is likely because most drug smuggling attempts involve the substance being ingested.

They wrote: ‘On follow-up and specific questioning, the patient was able to recall an incident that occurred 18 years prior, while he was incarcerated.

‘During a prison visit, the patient’s girlfriend supplied him with a small quantity of marijuana, inside a rubber balloon.

‘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.’

The man reported ‘complete resolution’ of symptoms three months after the surgery.

The team added: ‘To the best of our knowledge, our case represents the first report of a prison-acquired marijuana-based rhinolith.’

Medics, led by Dr Eugene Wong, added this is likely because most drug smuggling attempts involve the substance being ingested.

Rhinoliths are rare, accounting for one in 10,000 patients who are treated at an ear, nose and throat unit, figures suggest.

The unusual masses slowly develop when deposits of calcium and mucus build up over a foreign object, including beads, buttons and even teeth.

Symptoms include headaches – the symptom the man sought help for, as well as nasal obstruction, discharge and even facial pain.

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