J Neurol Surg Rep 2013; 74(01): 023-028
DOI: 10.1055/s-0033-1346976
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Injury to the Temporal Lobe via Medial Transorbital Entry of a Toothbrush

Jesse Skoch
1   Division of Neurosurgery, University Medical Center, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA
Tracy L. Ansay
2   Department of Neurosurgery, University of Cincinnati Neuroscience Institute and University of Cincinnati College of Medicine; and Mayfield Clinic, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
G. M. Lemole
1   Division of Neurosurgery, University Medical Center, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

14 December 2012

03 January 2013

Publication Date:
29 May 2013 (online)


Objectives Intracranial penetration by foreign bodies entering via the orbit represent an unusual form of traumatic brain injury. Nevertheless, much is at stake with high risk for cranial nerve and neurovascular injury. We present a case where the bristled end of a toothbrush entered the brain as a projectile via the superior orbital fissure and discuss considerations for surgical management.

Setting A 35-year-old woman suffered a periorbital injury after her husband threw an electric toothbrush at a wall and the head of the toothbrush became a missile that projected through her superior orbital fissure and into her right temporal lobe. She complained of headache and incomplete vision loss in the affected eye.

Intervention After obtaining a cerebrovascular angiogram, we proceeded with emergent orbital decompression and anterograde extraction of the foreign body via a modified frontotemporal orbitozygomatic approach with drilling of the skull base allowing for en bloc removal of the toothbrush.

Conclusions The patient recovered well with improvement in her vision and partial third and sixth nerve palsies. This report illustrates a unique mechanism of injury with a novel intracranial foreign body. We review the neurosurgeon's need for prompt management with an approach customized to the structure of the offending object, the damaged elements, and the surrounding cranial nerves and vascular anatomy.

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