After 55 Years of Pain German Woman Has Pencil Removed From Brain

A pencil lodged in your brain has got to hurt. A German woman who fell on a pencil 55 years ago has just had most of it removed from her head in a complex operation. But the tip will remain in her brain for ever.


A woman who lived with an 8-centimeter (3.1-inch) pencil lodged in her brain for 55 years has had most of it removed in a complex operation. She is now looking forward to a life without headaches and nosebleeds and hopes to also regain her sense of smell.

"When I was four years old I fell down in Dessau with a pencil in my hand. The pencil bored its way through my skin -- and disappeared in my head," Margret Wegner, 59, told the mass circulation newspaper Bild. "It was incredibly painful."

The pencil missed her optic nerve and a major artery by just millimeters. A doctor treated the wound, but no one dared to operate on her brain. She decided to have the life-threatening operation after 55 years, and it was successfully carried out by a surgeon in a Berlin hospital last week.

Most of the pencil -- six centimeters of it -- was removed but the 2-centimeter-long tip has grown in so tightly that it will remain lodged in her brain.

"I couldn't sleep the night before the operation," the former maths teacher, who is married to well-known boxing coach Ulli Wegner, told a Bild reporter Monday, three days after the operation. "I was afraid I hadn't sorted out all my affairs. I wrote letters to my relatives."

Bild published Tuesday a photo of Wegner with a white plaster on her nose, marvelling at the brittle chunk of pencil.

She faces another routine operation on Tuesday to remove gauze drenched with an antibiotic solution from the wound, as well as a support from her nasal septum, which separates the right from the left nasal airway.

She hopes to be well enough to attend a boxing match by one of her husband's proteges later this month.

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