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An unusual foreign body as cause of chronic sinusitis: a case report

Theodoros Kelesidis*, Sara Osman and Harry Dinerman

Author Affiliations

Department of Medicine, Caritas St Elizabeth's Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA

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Journal of Medical Case Reports 2010, 4:157  doi:10.1186/1752-1947-4-157

Published: 26 May 2010



The presence of a foreign body in the nose is a relatively uncommon occurrence. Many unusual foreign bodies in the nose have been reported in the literature, but no case of a nasal packing occurring as a foreign body in the nasal cavity for a prolonged time has been found.

Case presentation

We describe a unique case of the largest foreign body left in situ in the nasal cavity for over 10 years. Our patient was a 71-year-old Caucasian man with diabetes. Because of this, he was at high risk of developing complications from the foreign body and the chronic sinusitis. Amazingly, though, the foreign body had not caused any symptoms on our patient for many years, except for nasal discharge during the last few years. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case in the literature of such a large intra-nasal foreign body described in an adult without mental illness and without trauma that remained in situ for such a long time.


Undoubtedly, even illnesses with no complications could prove difficult for clinicians to diagnose. Clinicians should recognize the underlying causes that are responsible for the symptoms of chronic sinusitis and a unilateral nasal discharge should be assumed to be caused by an intra-nasal foreign body until proven otherwise.