Foreign body Nose (Nickel Cadmium battery)


Dr. T. Balasubramanian M.S. D.L.O.

Children have a tendency to pop in various objects in to their nasal cavities.  Out of fear they may not even reveal this to their parents until it becomes too late.  Most of these foreign bodies are inert and cause very little damage to the nasal cavity other than discharge.  Sometimes chemical laden foreign bodies are not so inert, they may cause significant damage to the nasal mucosa of the patient leading on to complications.

Clinical features of forgotten foreign body in the nose:

1. Unilateraly foul smeeling nasal discharge
2. Recurrent unilateral nasal infections
3. Swelling and pain in the nose
4. Unilateral nasal block

The presence of unilateral foul smelling nasal discharge is always an indication of foreign body in the nose and a deligent search sould be made to locate it.

This child whose video you will be seeing had popped in a lithium cadmium battery inside her right nasal cavity.  She presented with complaints of

1. Foul smelling discharge from right nose 6 months
2. Epistaxis right nose on and off 4 months
3. Headache on the right side - 6 months

On examination a shiny foreign body could be seen inside the right nasal cavity.  There was also a septal perforation corresponding to the level of the foreign body.

Under general anesthesia the foreign body was removed.

Problems of Lithium cadmium battery foreign body inside the nose:
  This battery uses nickel oxide in its positive electrode (cathode), a cadmium compound in its negative electrode (anode), and potassium hydroxide solution as its electrolyte. The Nickel Cadmium Battery is rechargeable, so it can cycle repeatedly. A nickel cadmium battery converts chemical energy to electrical energy upon discharge and converts electrical energy back to chemical energy upon recharge.
These batteries are fully laden with toxins like lithium and cadmium.  Cadmium is a corrosive poison.  It corrodes the nasal septum (involving the cartilagenous portion).  The bony portion of the nasal septum is not affected and is intact.


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