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March 1970

Hair Brush Bristle: Foreign Body of the Submaxillary Gland

Arch Surg. 1970;100(3):317-318. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1970.01340210093025

Mark Twain once observed that "a youth who couldn't even hit a cathedral at thirty yards with a gatling gun can take up an empty old musket and bag his grandmother every time."1 In a similar respect, otolaryngologists and radiologists have been known to spend many frustrating minutes attempting to cannulate Wharton's duct, whereas a golf professional apparently has unwittingly accomplished this feat with a blade of grass while enjoying an afternoon on the links.2 In addition, others have managed to introduce the following foreign bodies into the submandibular gland or duct: toothbrush bristles, wheat, fishbones, fingernails, straw, pine needles, and thorns.2-5

We have recently treated a patient with a hair brush bristle foreign body of the submandibular gland. We postulate that the foreign body penetrated the mucosa of the floor of the mouth and entered the gland posterior to the border of the mylohyoid muscle.