Tongue Ring: Anesthetic Risks and Potential Complications

A 22-yr-old female, American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status 1, is scheduled for an elective diagnostic laparoscopy under general anesthesia. Her history is unremarkable. She takes no medication and she has no history of allergy. On the day of surgery, it is discovered the patient’ s tongue is pierced with a silver dumbbell-shaped piece of jewelry. This was not noticed by the preoperative clinic staff or mentioned in the surgeon’s note. The jewelry is seen in the anterior one-third of her tongue and is sticking out of the tongue by 1 cm. You request that she remove the tongue ring, but she is reluctant to do so as it has been put in only 3 weeks ago. You warn her of the potential dangers, but she refuses to remove the tongue ring. You attempt to find a colleague that would be willing to do the case with the ring in situ. However, all your colleagues are either busy or reluctant to do the case. This leaves you with two options:
  1. (A)

    Tell her that you would be happy to do the anesthetic if she removes the ring before surgery. If she refuses to remove the ring, you will cancel the case?

  2. (B)

    Do the case with the ring in situ?

What will you do?


Anesthetic Risk Anesthesiologist Physical Status Electrosurgical Unit Electrosurgical Generator Tongue Ring 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

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