Doctors examining a woman complaining of needle-like pains in her abdomen have discovered a sharp fish bone which moved from her stomach to her liver after being swallowed eight years ago.
General surgery specialist Zhu Guomin made the crucial discovery when examining the 51-year-old female patient at the First Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University in China’s eastern province of Jiangxi.
The woman, who has remained unnamed, had turned to experts at the teaching hospital after local doctors were unable to find the source of her abdominal pain.
She recalled: “I never found the reason behind my abdominal pain.
“All I could tell the doctors in my local county was that it felt like something was pricking me inside my abdomen.
“It hurt like a needle prick.
“The county doctors would always says it’s because my body is weak, and that I needed more nutrients.”
Doctor Zhu, however, found the source of her discomfort when scans showed the 1.2-inch sharp object resting in her liver, causing inflammation.
It was fished out of her liver during a subsequent operation, during which the medic found the bone had been enveloped by flesh during its eight-year journey between her vital organs.
Doctor Zhu told local media: “The patient has a very long medical history.
“Around eight or nine years ago, she swallowed a fish bone which remained stuck in her body.
“She sought medical attention at the time, but local doctors didn’t find it.
“It’s likely that she had already swallowed it into her stomach by that time.
“When examining her scans, I discovered that the inflammation in her liver was caused by the fish bone.
“After removing the fish bone in microsurgery, her condition has seen some obvious improvement.
“Because the fish bone was very sharp and could not be digested, it pierced her stomach lining after being swallowed and continued to shift due to the movements of her muscles and was carried by blood vessels into her liver nearby.
“In another patient, blood vessels may have carried it to the heart, but it could’ve gone anywhere.
“That’s why it was incredibly dangerous.”
The patient is expected to make a full recovery.
Doctor Zhu said she now rarely eats fish.
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