Sticking foreign objects into your body is not uncommon. If you have ever had a splinter in your finger or some sand in your eye then you have experienced this phenomenon. I believe it's most common in small children, who sometimes stick things in their mouths, ears, and noses. My sister stuck a raisin up her nose when we were little. I've never forgotten it.
What happened to a 22 year old in Saudi Arabia is not common. You would assume he would have been in a lot of pain. When he arrived at a local clinic though, he was curiously absent of any symptoms.
The story he told the doctors was divulged in a recently published Urology Case Report. He told them he had a pair of 8-centimetre-long (over 3 inches) hair tweezers stuck inside his urethra: a foreign body he said he had self-inserted into his penis four years earlier.
He told doctors that he didn’t have any pain, chills, fever, or problems with urination. This has to be unusual in cases like this . You would think that having something lodged in your body would cause infection. The man also didn't say how or why the tweezers wound up in his urethra.
As you can see from the x-ray, there was indeed a pair of tweezers up there.
The doctors were now faced with a new problem. How to remove the tweezers. As you can imagine, it wasn't going to be easy.
The patient was given pre-operative intravenous antibiotics and taken to the operating room. Under general anesthesia, the doctors inserted a thin, flexible device called a cystoscope through the urethra and were able to locate the tweezers.
That is when another problem became apparent. The open end of the tweezers were pointing the wrong way. Simply pulling them down the shaft would have torn the skin and I imagine been quite painful. The surgeon assistant was asked to close the open end of the forceps by external pressure on the sides of the forceps through the penile shaft.
This worked and they were able to remove the tweezers using endoscopic foreign body forceps.
At the end of the procedure, no urethral catheter was inserted, the patient voided well and went home post procedure. The patient was recommended to undergo a psychiatric evaluation but he refused. The patient did not follow up with the outpatient department.
In the Urology Case Report the doctors go on to explain that the most common reason to do something like this is for autoerotic and sexual gratification, especially during masturbation. As you can well imagine, the patients feel guilty and humiliated and delay asking for medical help. This case is especially interesting to them because the patient didn't come in for four years and denied any inflammatory symptoms during this period.