Woman inhales dental drill during implant surgery

A Swedish woman was the recent victim of an unfortunate accident during oral surgery.

Jan 10th, 2013
Author   Lauren Burns

January 14, 2013

A Swedish woman was the recent victim of an unfortunate accident during oral surgery.

The woman was having dental implant surgery at Västmanland County Hospital in Västerås, Sweden, when a three cm-long drill head came loose and fell into her mouth. She was immediately pulled into a seated position, but it had already made its way down her throat.

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“She tried to spit it out, and was made to cough, but she’d already swallowed,” said Per Weitz, the medical chief at the hospital, in an interview with Swedish newspaper, The Local.

After an X-ray, doctors saw that the drill head was stuck in her lung. The woman underwent an immediate bronchoscopy to remove the drill head.

Though recovery time is one month, the woman was able to leave the hospital the next day.

Since the incident, more precautions are being taken to prevent this from happening 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 into the air. That should be done before every procedure now,” Weitz told The Local.

Regardless of extra precautions, however, he added that mistakes are impossible to avoid. "Unfortunately, drills are going to be dropped every now and then."

Lauren Burns is the editor of Proofs magazine and the email newsletters RDH Graduate and Proofs. She is currently based out of New York City. Follow her on Twitter: @ellekeid.

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