Dental Drill Accident: Drill Gets Lodged In Woman's Lung During Surgery

on December 29 2012 11:33 AM
Dental Surgery
Dental Surgery Flickr

Going to the dentist is scary enough for some people, but get this: A dental drill accident during routine oral surgery in Sweden caused parts of the drill to get lodged in a 60-year-old woman's lung.

An unnamed patient went for a routine dental implant surgery at Västmanland County Hospital in Västerås, in central Sweden. During surgery, the dental drill became loose and slid down her throat, causing the patient to swallow it.

"She tried to spit it out, and was made to cough, but she'd already swallowed," Västmanland County Hospital's medical chief Per Weitz told The Local.

After undergoing an X-ray, doctors were able to determine that the  1.1" drill had became lodged in her right lung, which then required an emergency bronchoscopy to remove it.

"A pinky-sized tube was sent into her lung with a small camera and pliers to grab hold of the drill," Weitz said.

The procedure went well, with the drill being removed, and the unnamed patient was discharged from the hospital the next day. It took her a full month to recover from the accident.

The incident happened in September, and the hospital has since instituted some new changes to their procedures to insure the likelihood that it won’t happen again.

"What we've done at the clinic is to make sure everyone double checks that the drill is attached properly, and we've also introduced a routine of testing the drill in the air. That should be done before every procedure now," said Weitz.

"Unfortunately," he said, "drills are going to be dropped every now and then."

Gawker added a fun fact about Sweden's dentistry: the country essentially invented modern dental implantology.

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