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Thursday 20th June 2019

Surgeons find rusty knife in man's head

22nd February 2011

A Chinese man who went to the doctor complaining of headaches has had a four-year-old knife blade extracted from his skull.


Li Fuyan, 30, is from Yunnan, one of the southernmost provinces of China, bordering Burma.

Since he was stabbed by a thief four years ago, Li had suffered from migraines, halitosis, and breathing difficulties.

Li did not realise that the knife blade had broken off inside his skull, where it contributed to inflammation, as well as causing his mouth and ears to bleed.

The operation took four hours. Surgeons said the knife blade was about a quarter of a centimetre thick and 10 centimetres long.

After just missing the carotid artery, the knife sat behind Li's throat, where it rusted and fell apart.

Xu Wen, deputy director of stomatology at the Yuxi City People's Hospital in Yunnan, said that surgeons had checked Li's mouth for wounds or scars without finding anything.

Li said that, as time passed, he had resorted to using injections to kill the pain in his head.

Eugene Flamm, neurosurgery chairman at the Montefiore Medical Center in New York, said that the knife missed several important areas of Li's head by fractions of an inch.

Neurosurgeon Luo Zhiwei of the People's Hospital said that the knife's story was a miracle of miracles.

He said that the blade entered Li's skull through the lower right jaw, passed the tongue, and came to rest with its tip almost touching Li's brain.

Flamm said that the way the knife lodged itself inbetween the trachea and the oesophagus was similar to the way doctors do surgery.

While the story may seem miraculous to some people, it is not the first case of dramatic head injury.

Several years ago, a construction worker went to the dentist complaining about a toothache.

After being x-rayed, the worker learned that he had accidentally fired a nail through the roof of his mouth a week beforehand.


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