Airway compromise by dislodged obturator in a patient with severe trismus

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A patient presented with impending airway obstruction due to a dislodged interim maxillary obturator. The removal was complicated by the presence of severe trismus due to previous maxillectomy and recent radiotherapy. An emergency tracheotomy with the patient under local anesthetic was required to provide a definitive airway and to permit subsequent removal of the obturator with the patient under general anesthesia. The situation highlights the risks associated with interim obturators while awaiting the provision of an ideally fitted, well-retained, definitive obturator. Displaced obturators are potentially life threatening and difficult to remove in emergency situations.

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