A balloon filled with marijuana has been pulled from a man’s nose.
The unnamed 48-year-old went to a hospital in Sydney complaining of headaches.
After a CT scan, doctors found a “firm gray mass” in his right nasal cavity, surrounded by a build-up of calcium and other minerals.
After surgically removing the object, they discovered it was a “rubber capsule containing degenerate vegetable/plant matter."
The man admitting his now ex-girlfriend snuck him cannabis while visiting him in prison 18 years ago. He then put the contraband up his nose to hide it from guards.
While pushing it further up his nasal cavity, the man thought he accidentally swallowed the package and forgot all about it.
The man had the scan at Westmead Hospital.
After the discovery was made, he opened up about battling recurrent nasal infections over the years and a feeling of “obstruction” in his right nostril.
Doctors called the 1.9cm x 1.1cm (0.74 x 0.43 inches) mass a “rhinolith”, medical speak for a stone-like structure that develops in the nose.
The man did not initially know what the offending object was, but it all came back to him after questioning from the medics.
“On follow-up and specific questioning, the patient was able to recall an incident that occurred 18 years prior, while he was incarcerated,” they wrote in the journal BMJ Case Reports.
“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.”
Three months after the surgery, the man’s headaches had vanished.
Drug smuggling into prisons usually involves inmates swallowing the contraband and then passing it in their stools, the doctors added.
“To the best of our knowledge, our case represents the first report of a prison-acquired marijuana-based rhinolith,” they wrote.
“Insertion into the nasal cavity for this purpose is relatively rare.”