Journal of Radiology Case Reports, Vol 14, No 6 (2020)

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The Wandering Charm Needle

The Wandering Charm Needle

Vimbai Chekenyere, Emma Choon Hwee Lee, Winston Eng Hoe Lim, Nanda Venkatanarasimha, Robert Chun Chen

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Charm needles, otherwise known as susuk, are small pin like objects worn subcutaneously, thought to bring magic powers, bringing health, wealth, beauty, and other benefits to the wearer. These talismans are fairly common in South-East Asia, and are generally thought to be benign entities with few clinical sequela. In fact, no known complications have ever been reported in the literature, as susuk are typically composed of biologically inert precious metals and rarely migrate from their origin. Herein, we detail the first ever reported case of a complication from a charm needle, involving a middle aged Chinese female who had a charm needle subcutaneously inserted into the occipital scalp, which eventually migrated through the skull and into her left cerebellar hemisphere. Our aim is to familiarize readers to this peculiar phenomenon not widely practiced in the western world, and to highlight that charm needles are not as benign as initially conceived. To the best of our knowledge, this case demonstrates the first reported complication of a charm needle in the English medical literature.

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