Doctors in China remove 9cm-long lighter from man's stomach after 20 years

Doctors did an endoscopy and found a long, black foreign object, which they suspected to be a lighter.
Doctors did an endoscopy and found a long, black foreign object, which they suspected to be a lighter.PHOTO: VIDEO SCREENGRAB

A Chinese man recently visited a hospital for stomach pains - only to have doctors discover a 9cm-long lighter sitting in his abdomen for some 20 years.

Local broadcaster Jiangxi Television reported that the man in his 40s from Dujiangyan City, Sichuan province, had sought help at a local hospital, after suffering from long-term stomach pains and blood in his stool.

Doctors did an endoscopy and found a long, black foreign object, which they suspected to be a lighter.

When asked, the man recalled that he had indeed swallowed a lighter about 20 years ago, but did not think too much of it then, as he did not have any symptoms.

On their first attempt, doctors were unable to remove the lighter from the man's stomach, as they said it was relatively large and had a smooth surface. There were also multiple ulcers and bleeding in the man's stomach cavity.

Thankfully, their second gastroscopy was a success.

They first wrapped the lighter and made a double loop around it, before using a forceps to grab and guide it out of the man's body through his oesophagus.

The entire operation was said to have taken just 10 minutes.

Despite the fact that it was soaking in gastric acid for 20 years, doctors were able to confirm that the object was a slightly corroded lighter measuring about 9cm.

In an interview, they described the object as a "time bomb", particularly because it was such a large object that had been inside the man's stomach for such a long period of time.

There could be life-threatening implications if the lighter had entered the man's intestines, they said.

Doctors advised those who have swallowed a foreign object to seek help immediately even if they do not feel ill.