Chennai: A live cockroach was taken out from the skull base close to the brain of a woman at the Government Stanley Hospital here on Wednesday, surgeons said. “This is the first such case I have seen in my three decades of practice”, said Prof M. N. Shankar, head of the ENT department at the hospital after leading the tricky procedure that lasted under an hour and involved using clamps and sucker.
It appeared that the cockroach had got into the woman’s nose when she was asleep and unable to go up any further or turn back, it lodged itself at the base of the skull, between the two eyes and close to the brain.
Selvi, 42, a domestic help, living at Injambakkam, had gone to sleep after a hard day’s work Tuesday but was woken up around midnight feeling extreme discomfort in the nose, which quickly worsened in pain and irritation. Her son-in-law took her to a local clinic where she was referred to another clinic and the two finally landed at the Stanley in the morning.
Selvi said she had first decided to sleep off the weird irritation but as the pain worsened, had to drag her son-in-law out to the hospital, where one doctor tried to dismiss the problem as something that would pass with time while another doctor said there was growth of skin inside the nose that gave her the crawling sensation. “I kept telling the doctors that there was something crawling inside”, recalled the woman, now looking a bit relieved.
The Stanley surgeons might have had their share of insects in nostrils and ears but this live cockroach shocked them all. “Examining her with nasal endoscope showed us a cockroach, a live one, settled near the skull base, between the eyes and close to the brain. It is rare to find a foreign body in the nose (unlike the ear) and here it’s an adult’s nose and that too, a live cockroach”, said Dr Shankar. He said if left there, the insect would have died and Selvi would have developed infection spreading to the brain.
“We tried to use a vacuum suction to suck out the insect but that was not possible due to its large size and the difficult place it was sitting in. We then used nasal endoscopy and another aseptic technique, drag it to a place from where I could pull it out finally after about 45 minutes”, said the ENT professor. Stanley dean Dr Ponnambala Namasivayam said the cockroach had gone right into the nose and unable to push up further, parked itself between the nose and the brain. “If it had managed to push further up, it could create holes in the brain”, he said.