Man coughs up 30-year-old nail

Prax Sanchez of Colorado coughed up a nail that was stuck in his nose for three decades. It came out after he underwent a medical MRI. Of course, MRIs are essentially giant magnets which is why you have to remove any metal objects before entering the machine. From KKTV:
 Images Nail+In+Nose2 "When I went to lay down on the MRI machine, I had a real pain on my right side under my eye," said Sanchez...

It was over an inch long. Doctors say it could have been up his nose for 30 years.

"Once it's in the nasal cavity like that, a little membrane forms around it and it becomes a foreign object."
"Man Coughs Up Nail Stuck In His Nose For 30 Years"


  1. I’ve had two MRIs. Before each one they did a head X-Ray to prevent things like this from happening. They were especially concerned about tiny chips of metal in the eyes.

  2. Which begs the question: How does one get a nail stuck up one’s nose in the first place? Was he hammering together a bird house with his face?
    Was he involved in a rousing game of nail-gun tag?

  3. Far more likely that he stuck it up there as a toddler and no one ever noticed.

    Or siblings were involved somehow. ;)

  4. I had a friend who was shot with a BB gun by his brother when we were kids. The BB wasn’t found until 15 years later… after an MRI. Yes, it was in his nose.

  5. Okay, this is gross but I can’t help wondering. How do you “cough up” something in your nose? Coughing comes from down in the lungs and out of the mouth, right? Wouldn’t he have sneezed or blown it out of his nostril, or sucked it down into his throat and then coughed it out?

  6. @#7
    “sucked it down into his throat and then coughed it out?”

    I think that’s what they mean by “coughed it up”.

    Sure he sort of sucked it down from his nose first, but then, once it was down at the back of his throat, he had to cough it up and out.

  7. #7: As far as I’m concerned, coughing is just “out of the mouth, propelled by air from the lungs” not “up from in the lungs and out”

    The same way you can sneeze something out of your nose that was never in your lungs.

    If it was in the nasal cavity, it can fall down to the back of his mouth, at which point it would provoke violent coughing and then POOF, nail.

  8. Money quote: “Back then we didn’t have Daddy’s trust fund for cocaine or whatever – we just did what we had to do.”

  9. Was reupholstering a table the other day while thinking about MRIs. Was thinking about sticking the table in to remove all the staples in one fell swoop. Oh sure, could damage the machine and cause a spinning cloud of sharp metal death, but think of the time saved. Millions of household uses, order yours today.

  10. This is part of why they make replacement joints (like the hip I got a month ago) out of titanium these days, instead of steel. Titanium is also more durable, but the MRI thing is important too. Especially since an MRI is required to diagnose AVN.

  11. Well… it’s better than a sharp stick in the eye!

    Seriously, my sinuses hurt just thinking about this. Yuck! I hope Ruth DT @ #13 is right about this being April Fool’s news.

  12. ‘It was over an inch long. Doctors say it could have been up his nose for 30 years.

    “Once it’s in the nasal cavity like that, a little membrane forms around it and it becomes a foreign object.” ‘

    Uh, I woulda thought it was a foreign object the moment it was introduced into his body. Sheesh!

  13. ISTM that the MRI was just as likely to pull that nail into his brain as it was to reposition it so that he could cough it up. He should feel very lucky.

  14. They forgot to mention that the man in question with the nail up his nose was named Pincocchio.

    So what do you expect?

  15. “Once it’s in the nasal cavity like that, a little membrane forms around it and it becomes a foreign object.”

    It only becomes a foreign object once the membrane forms? This doctor’s medical expertise is now in question.

  16. when do they turn the magnet on? Before you slide into the donut? Or after your head is positioned?

  17. I’d like to second Ruth’s question about whether this was an April fools joke. Can this be verified, what is BB’s research department doing about this situation.

    Maybe web sites that feature “news of the strange” should take a one day sabbatical on April 1, I don’t trust anything right now. Especially since PTI got me with Kentucky signs Pitino, I think this is the third year in a row I’ve been fooled, but you forget about it for a year.

    And secondly, assuming this is true, has anybody done some IQ tests to see if he’s gotten smarter ala Homer Simpson?

  18. Tak, the magnet is always ‘on’, but once you’re in the donut, the machine moves and/or varies the field rapidly. What’s being sensed is diagmagnetic response of water to the changing field.

    I would have figured he’d notice some pressure walking into the room, but perhaps having a nail in his nose for that long was enough of a confounding sensation that he learned to ignore it… Weird.

    (You CAN turn the magnet off, but it’s increadibly expensive to turn it back on. Especially if you need to quench it (turn it off quickly) – it boils off all the coolant from the heat dissipation, and the reboot sequence can take days – or so I hear from those who work on them)

  19. My mother has 19 tiny metal springs in her sinuses to control what is basically an aneurysm in the blood vessels feeding to her sinuses.

    She also wears a medical ID bracelet that demands that she never, ever have an MRI, even on her extremities. The movement of the springs if magnetized, because of their position in her head, WILL kill her, excruciatingly, but quickly — the surgeons were absolutely clear about this, and said that it’s not a matter of probability — it’s 100% certain.

    He’s damned lucky that it only dislodged, instead of burying itself deeper in the tissues in his head…if indeed this is not a poisson d’Avril.

  20. I don’t know nothin’ about the orientation of the B field vector inside the MRI, but he’s lucky the nail didn’t take the shortest route to the magnet and shoot through the intervening tissue, because “that could ruin his whole day.”

  21. I’ve been a participant in two fMRI studies now, and it freaks me out walking into that room. The consequences of metal aren’t always severe. Other participants had orthodontic metal applicances in their mouths and were fine. One woman didn’t take her underwire bra off, and it was detected by a large artefact appearing in the data. Her bra didn’t get ripped off. When scanning men in their 70s and 80s researchers have to be especially careful to ask about metal fragments in the eye (i.e. from shrapnel during battle). I sit one floor above a 3 Tesla scanner. It costs $40,000 – 50,000 in electricity a month to power!

  22. I cracked up while eating a burger once. Everything smelled like pickle for a couple weeks, till I gacked up a slice of pickle. Pooie!

  23. Once it’s in the nasal cavity like that, a little membrane forms around it and it becomes a foreign object.

    And yet it took my nose piercing like two years to heal.

    I hope for this man’s sake that it was an April Fools joke.

  24. That’s snot a nail. Yes it is. Not it’s snot. Yes it is. eeeeeeeuuuuuuuuuuuuwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

  25. I stuck a very tiny Lego brick in my nose when I was a kid. It never came out again and I forgot about it. Reading this post makes me wonder. It’s probably still inside me, having become a part of me.

  26. Archeologists of the future will wonder about our culture’s tradition of sticking legos, marbles and lite-brite pegs up our noses. Was it a funeral rite, a way to enlarge the nose in order to demonstrate a higher status, or perhaps a charm to protect from the Evil Nose?

  27. When my cousin was a teenager she had some breathing problems. Doctors surgically removed a chunk of fur that had ingrown inside her nose. They figured out she had stuffed a piece of one of her furry toys in her nose when she was little, and like this story her body had just kept growing around it.

  28. I can say this probably isn’t an April Fool’s joke. My dad (retired head and neck surgeon) once told me about a case that came to his hospital. It seems a patient came with a complaint about not being able to turn her neck.

    It turned out that she had a large nail lodged deeply in her neck. Apparently a passing car must have run over a nail and thrown it with amazing speed – so fast she didn’t even feel it. Amazingly she had no idea this had happened, and had amazing luck in that she came out of the ordeal just fine.

    Makes you pause when you think about how many nails must be potentially whizzing around roadsides..

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