A Tiny Fishbone Wreaked Havoc on a Man's Stomach

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A Tiny Fishbone Wreaked Havoc on a Man's Stomach


A 73-year-old man in Japan developed sudden and severe pain in his lower abdomen. When he was rushed to the emergency room, the doctor found that a tiny fishbone from yellowtail he had eaten the day before his pain started tore a hole through his intestine. 


Stomachache / Photo by: stylephotographs via 123RF


Live Science, a science news website that features groundbreaking developments in science, space, technology, health, the environment, our culture, and history, reported that it is rare for a swallowed “foreign body” to cause a tear in the intestine. According to a 2014 paper published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, less than 1 percent of cases from an ingested foreign body result in such a tear. Fishbones that have sharp ends and elongated shape usually pass through the gastrointestinal tract without causing problems. But the elderly man was an unfortunate case.


A fishbone / Photo by: Skitterphoto via Pexels


The doctors revealed that the man’s small intestine had been punctured by a 2-centimeter-long (0.8 inches) “linear, high-density body.” They had to remove part of his small intestine to treat him. Aside from that, the man also received antibiotics to ward off any possible infections that could have resulted from having a hole in the bowel. Fortunately, doctors at the Kochi Medical School in Nankoku reported that he was able to recover after eight days and was allowed to go home. 

According to Healthline, people who wear dentures are more likely to ingest fish bones because they may have trouble feeling the bones in their mouth while eating. Other people who can be at risk of swallowing fish bones include children, older adults, and people who eat fish while intoxicated. Fortunately, this can be prevented. People should eat fillets since they have fewer bones hiding in them than whole fish do. Also, it is important that you eat slowly and take small bites. 


The x-ray result / Photo by: The New England Journal of Medicine via Live Science