The man, who was an inmate at that time, was given a small amount of weed by his girlfriend when she paid him a visit during his stint in prison.
Its believed the drugs were handed to him inside of a small rubber balloon, according to the original article in the British Medical Journal, titled “A nose out of joint”.
In order to get it past the guards, the man placed the package inside his nose. Despite successfully smuggling it in, he ended up accidentally pushing the package deeper inside his nasal cavity and believed he had ended up swallowing it.
The prisoner, now 48, spent near to 18 years of his life unaware of the drugs still residing in his nose. Over that time the balloon hardened into a rhinolith, a stone which can develop and obstruct a nostril. This happened as calcium salts built up around the balloon, changing its composition.
The man struggled with sinus infections for years, as well as nasal obstructions and related headaches but could not understand why or what the cause might be.
The true cause of all these issues was only discovered during a CT scan of the 48-year-olds brain, which he underwent due to his headaches. This scan is what ultimately revealed an object in his nasal cavity which prompted further investigation.
Further tests revealed “a firm grey mass in the right nasal cavity,”, as was stated by the researchers involved.
Doctors removed the rhinolith via surgery and found the stone was formed of a “rubber capsule containing degenerate vegetable/plant matter.”
The patient later recalled the prison incident. Three short months after completion of the surgery, the patient was able to report that his symptoms had gone.
An interesting story nonetheless, particularly seeing as this was the first reported case of this nature.