Alveolar Lesion that Turned out to be a Battery!

Alveolar lesion
Button-cell type battery removed from the patient's cleft alveolus. Source: Journal of Medical Case Reports

A 12-year-old boy with unilateral alveolar cleft paid a visit to the hospital. It was a routine visit before his alveolar surgery. Apart from mild halitosis, he was asymptomatic.

He had a raised lesion in his cleft region. It appeared paler than the surrounding areas. Moreover, it was firm and non-tender on palpation. Doctors confirmed through imaging that was a well-circumscribed radiopaque mass.

Based on the radiographic findings, doctors considered an ectopic tooth or odontoma as differentials. To confirm the diagnosis, the doctors suggested a cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT). However, the boy’s parents disapproved of it due to financial concerns. Hence, the doctors planned a surgical excision of the mass during the alveolar surgery.

The Mass Turned Out to be a Battery!

Doctors performed the surgery under general anaesthesia. They removed the lesion/mass in the boy’s alveolar cleft. However, thorough cleaning and examination of the resected specimen revealed something very unexpected. The lesion initially considered as an ectopic tooth turned out to be a button-cell type battery. It had caused some mucosal damage at the site of its impaction.

The doctors immediately discontinued the procedure and postponed the alveolar bone graft surgery on account of mucosal inflammation and fibrosis in the areas surrounding the lesion.

Battery in the Alveolar Cleft

Impactions of foreign objects in the mouth and nose are very common. The incidence is particularly high in children as they have a habit of putting everything in their mouths due to their impulsive nature. Foreign bodies lodged in the palatal regions often mimic tumours of the palate or salivary glands and are usually symptomatic. However, this is perhaps the first case where a foreign body mimicked an odontoma on a radiograph. Furthermore, an asymptomatic presentation and a negative history of foreign object insertion by the boy makes the case unusual.


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