BERLIN - After being plagued for 55 years with the torment of a pencil lodged in her head, a German woman has finally had it removed.
Margaret Wegner, now 59, was 4 years old when she fell while carrying the 3.15 inch-long pencil, which went through her cheek and into her brain.
"It bored right through the skin and disappeared into my head," Wegner told Germany's best-selling newspaper, Bild. "It hurt like crazy."
At the time the technology did not exist to safely remove the pencil, so Wegner had to live with it — and the chronic headaches and nosebleeds that it brought — for the next five-and-a-half decades.
But on Friday, Dr. Hans Behrbohm, an ear, nose and throat specialist at Berlin's Park-Klinik Weissensee, was able to use modern techniques to identify the exact location of the pencil so that he could accurately determine that the risks of removing it, and then take most of it out.
The operation was particularly difficult because of the way the pencil had shifted as Wegner grew, Behrbohm told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
"This was something unique because the trauma was so old," said Behrbohm, who has also operated to remove bullets from the brains of shooting victims, and glass from the brains of people involved in car accidents.
Though a 0.79-inch piece of the pencil could not be removed, Behrbohm said it does not present a danger.
And now Wegner, the wife of German boxing coach Ulli Wegner, will no longer have the headaches and nosebleeds, and her sense of smell should also return soon, Behrbohm said.
"She shouldn't suffer any longer," he said.