Teen undergoes surgery after piercing own tongue

Boy's tongue so swollen that the ring disappeared inside the tongue; threatened to choke him; ring only noticeable in CT scan.

October 26, 2010 10:26
1 minute read.
X-ray of a tongue piercing.

piercing_311. (photo credit: Coutesy of Emek Medical Center.)


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Uri is a 17-year-old boy from the North who thought he could pierce his own tongue and attached a ring. But the experiment ended in surgery under general anesthesia at Emek Medical Center in Afula.

A month ago, without consulting his parents or a professional, he made the hole in his tongue and attached a metal ring, causing almost immediate pain. As he thought it would pass in a few days, he left the ring in.

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A few days later, an infection made it difficult for him to speak or eat, so he removed the ring; but when the pain receded a bit, he put it back in place. But this time, the tongue was so swollen and inflamed that the ring disappeared deep inside the tongue.

When he finally told his mother, she rushed him to the hospital, where doctors were able to observe the ring only in a CT scan. As his tongue was so large, it threatened to choke him, and he was sent to intensive care in serious condition.

Later, when his situation improved, he was moved to the ear-nose-and-throat department, where he underwent major surgery and received antibiotics by infusion.

Dr. Miki Pecker said that when he was admitted, it was clear his life was in danger. Not only was the ring not sterile, but it was inserted into a part of the tongue not suited to piercing. It will take a while until the pain fades, he added.

His mother called on other parents to be alert to their children's possible plans to undergo piercing, and warned them that it could end in a tragedy.

Uri himself advised his peers who want piercings to have it done by an expert, with parental approval – and certainly not as a do-it-yourself job.


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