Photo Of The Day

Photo: © The New England Journal of Medicine

Photo: © The New England Journal of Medicine

No Wonder She Was In Agony

X-ray reveals hundreds of gold Needles left in woman’s knees after she had acupuncture for arthritis

Doctors were shocked when they X-rayed a woman’s knees and found they were full of gold needles.

The 65-year-old South Korean woman had hundreds of tiny acupuncture needles in her knee tissue.

It is thought they were left around her joint intentionally by an alternative medical practitioner who was treating her for knee pain.

The woman had been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, LiveScience reports.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and is characterised by inflammation of the affected joint, damage to the cartilage of the joint and bony growths around the edge of the joints.

Pain can result from the damage to the cartilage which lines the bones and allows the joints to move without friction.

The woman was treated with painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs but they failed to relieve the pain and they caused her stomach discomfort.

As a result, she turned to acupuncture for relief and is believed to have sought treatment at least once a week.

The therapy involves using needles to stimulate different parts of the body or to relieve pain.

In the South Korean woman’s case, it is thought the needles were left inside her knees to provide continued stimulation after the treatment had ended.

However, many experts believe leaving foreign objects inside a person’s body is not a good idea.

Dr Ali Guermazi, a professor of radiology at Boston University, who was not involved in the woman’s treatment, said they could cause swelling, abscesses and infections.

He told LiveScience that leaving the needles in her knee could make it difficult for doctors to interpret X-rays.

Additionally, he said it would mean she could not have an MRI scan if needed because the magnets in the scanner could cause the needles to move and damage an artery.

The woman’s case was reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.



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  • ex-JAFA

    “However, many experts believe leaving foreign objects inside a person’s body is not a good idea.” Really? Hoodathunkit?

    I hope she’s able to sell the gold once it’s removed and at least get something for her ordeal.

    • Dave

      and how do they remove them, Liposuction needle, suck them out? there must be hundreds in each leg, could be very very painful.

  • Rick H

    haha – I had to laugh at the mention of “problems having an MRI scan.”
    Gold id not ferrous, therefore non-magnetic.
    MRI can not cause the gold to move – unless they are only gold-plated steel.

    • Momo

      I would think a professor of radiology in Boston would know that, likely to be steel but “gold” coloured.

    • friardo

      Curiously enough when gold is in a strong magnetic field it does become very very slightly magnetic, but only while the field is in place. The level of magnetic disturbance may be of much the same order as that induced to produce the imaging though, and the radiology professor suggests they may move enough to damage a vein or artery.

  • Richard

    Extremely lucky none of these worked their way into the bloodstream and traveled to the heart.

  • cows4me

    As Doctor McCoy would say “What is this, the dark ages ? “