A 59-year-old man in Zelenograd, Russia, lived with serious nose breathing difficulties for over half a century, because of a coin he had shoved up his nose as a child and forgot about over the years.

Doctors at the Konchalovsky City Clinical Hospital in Zelenograd recently reported the strange case of a patient who said he had been completely unable to breathe through his right nostril for several months. A CT scan showed that the right nasal passage was completely blocked by a foreign body of stony density stuck in the posterior, close to the nasopharynx.

A more common curvature of the septum was also observed, but it would not have obstructed the nasal passage completely all by itself. The foreign object was the problem, but the deviated septum had emphasized the breathing difficulties to the point where the patient had no choice but to seek help.

The 59-year-old patient had never told the doctors that a foreign object might be the cause of his breathing troubles, but that’s only because he had no idea himself. It was only after seeing the CT scan and the mysterious round object that the unnamed man recalled playing with a small, one-kopeck coin, and shoving it into his nose, when he was about six years old.

Because his mother was very strict, he was too afraid to tell her that the coin had gotten stuck in his right nostril, so he just left it there, and as time went by, he forgot all about it. Doctors were skeptical about his story at first, but after removing the coin, during an endoscopic operation which lasted 1.5 hours,, and examining it, they started to believe him.

The rhinolith – nasal stone that usually forms around foreign objects – on the metal coin indicated that the object had been in the man’s nose for  quite some time, and half a century didn’t seem that unlikely anymore.

During the procedure to remove the coin, doctors also fixed his deviated septum, which improved his nasal breathing even more. However, ENT specialist Elena Nepryakhina told the Moscow Press Agency that the man was so sick of having his nose blocked that he yanked out the bandages soon after waking up from the anesthesia.

Doctors said that the man was lucky to regain full nasal breathing capacity, and avoid serious complications caused by foreign objects for so long. In such cases, various intracranial and purulent-septic complications may occur, but the 59-year-old didn’t experience anything but breathing difficulties.

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