Inhaled Toy Goes Undetected For 40 Years

September 28, 2017

© Dmitry Grushin | Dreamstime

For about a year, a 47-year old man hadn't been feeling well and had a nagging cough which produced a yellow mucus.  Being a smoker for most of his life the outlook looked bleak for the man.  After an x-ray was taken, the photo shows a mass in one of his lungs.  To find out just how serious the tumor was, a bronchoscopy was performed so doctors could see the tumor.  However the mass wasn't cancer or a tumor.  It was a plastic toy traffic cone from a toy set he received on his seventh birthday.  The toy, which was less than half an inch had been inhaled when he was playing with it 40 years ago and lodged in one of his lungs. While it's not uncommon for children to ingest small toys, doctors say it's the first time they've heard of one going undetected for so long. They speculate that because the man inhaled the cone so young, his airway "was able to remodel and adapt to the presence of this foreign body." It was eventually absorbed into the lung lining, where it remained undetected.  Once the toy was removed, the man's condition improved drastically.


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