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Mumbai: 70-year-old man gets tongue-tied by fishbone

Updated on: 06 June,2023 07:55 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Suraj Pandey |

A 2 cm fishbone pierces tongue; man undergoes successful surgery at Nanavati hospital

Mumbai: 70-year-old man gets tongue-tied by fishbone

The 2-cm fishbone that pierced through Viraf’s tongue and reached his throat

Viraf Sorabhjee, 70, a retired customer service expert, underwent a complicated surgery at Nanavati Max Super Specialty Hospital on May 25 after experiencing three weeks of agony and travelling 250 km with a 2-cm fishbone that pierced through his tongue and reached his throat. Sorabhjee, who spends his retirement travelling between Canada, Navsari, and Mumbai, has a fondness for fish dishes. Recounting his ordeal, he said, “Being a fish-lover and having spent eight months in Canada without fried fish, I didn`t hesitate when it was served. I immediately regretted eating the large piece of fish all at once, as it was full of sharp thorns that injured my mouth, gums, and tongue. While attempting to remove the last stubbornly lodged fishbone, it broke and a piece of it pierced my tongue.” The incident occurred on May 8, and due to the fishbone being inside his tongue, he suffered pain and decided to travel from Navsari to Mumbai. He arrived at Nanavati on May 22.

Dr Sanjay Helale, a consultant ENT surgeon at Nanavati, stated, “The fishbone had pierced the tongue, and the initial CT scan located it near the base of the tongue. However, during the surgery, we were surprised to find that the fishbone was not at the indicated site. We promptly used intraoperative ultrasonography to relocate the fishbone, which had migrated deeper into the neck.”

Viraf Sorabhjee with surgeon Dr Helale after successful surgeryViraf Sorabhjee with surgeon Dr Sanjay Helale after successful surgery

He further added, “Remarkably, the fishbone pierced the tongue and moved to the base of the tongue within three weeks, but in just three days, it travelled an equal distance deeper into the neck. If there had been any further delay, locating it would have been impossible, and it could have caused damage to internal organs or veins.” On May 25, he underwent surgery to remove the fishbone. Following the successful procedure, Sorabhjee is recovering well and eagerly looking forward to enjoying his beloved fish dishes once again. His experience serves as a cautionary tale for others to exercise caution when consuming unfamiliar fish. He advised, “Be cautious and avoid eating unknown fish altogether.”

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