Video Shows Doctor Removing Butterfly Living Inside Patient's Ear

Video has emerged showing a doctor in Vietnam pulling a trapped butterfly out of a patient's ear.

Video of the procedure was shared by the United Press International News Agency (UPI) on 13 July. The medic, identified only as Dr. Tuan, carried out the procedure in Ha Nam province, northern Vietnam.

The patient, who wasn't named, visited Tuan's clinic after suffering pain in his ear. He told Tuan he thought an insect had crawled inside him, UPI reported.

Using a special camera, Tuan investigated the patient's ear. He confirmed the man's fears and found a butterfly living inside his ear canal.

Video of the procedure shows the patient's magnified ear canal. A grey blob—the butterfly—can be seen on a screen in the clinic.

Tuan uses a pair of tweezers to pick the bug out from the man's ear as he points the camera inside.

At first, Tuan is unable to grip on to the insect's tiny body with the metal tweezers. The medic then goes back in with new instruments, and manages to grab on to the butterfly.

After successfully removing the butterfly, he places it on a piece of white gauze for the patient to see. Tuan appears to re-enter the man's ear to pick up any debris left behind during the procedure.

It's unclear how the animal managed to get so deep inside the man's ear, or where he was when it happened.

In a separate video published by Newsflare on YouTube on April 24, Tuan is shown removing a butterfly from a woman's ear.

The patient is seen closing her eyes as Tuan roots around her ear canal.

Similarly to the patient he treated on July 13, the woman complained of a pain in her ear. She said she thought an animal went inside her ear as she walked down a road, and she believed this was the source of her pain.

Professor Carl Philpott, honorary secretary of ENT UK, the professional membership body that represents ear, nose and throat specialists in the United Kingdom, told Newsweek: "This is rare but probably more common in tropical climes. Drowning in olive oil and removal via a specialist is best."

Dr. Philip G. Chen, an ear nose and throat expert at UT Health San Antonio, told Newsweek: "It's pretty uncommon for a butterfly to crawl into an external ear canal. The ear canal is not very big.

"Any insect that seeks dark, warm spaces will craw into the ear canal. Unfortunately, cockroaches are probably the most common insect seen hiding in the external ear canal. Spiders and beetles are often seen, too."

"Keep your living area as clean as possible to avoid having these insects around that have potential to climb into the ear. If camping outside, use bug repellant and a tent," he said.

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center insects may fly inside and get trapped inside the ear when an individual is outdoors or when they are sleeping. In some cases, the insect will die inside the ear, or stay alive and try to crawl out of the canal.

Lacewing butterfly, butterfly, stock, getty,
A stock image of a lacewing butterfly. A doctor in Vietnam removed a butterfly from a man's ear. Getty

The university advises against trying to remove bugs inside the ear with a cotton swab or probe. "This may push the insect farther into the ear. Or it can damage the middle ear and eardrum," the institution warned.

If the insect doesn't come out after tilting or gently shaking the head, pouring a small amount of vegetable or baby oil into the ear can kill the bug, while warm water can flush it out. If the insect doesn't come out of the ear or die, or a fever or infection develops, the person should visit the doctor.

"Insects can damage the inside of the ear by stinging or scratching the eardrum," stated University of Rochester Medical Center.

This article has been updated with comment from Professor Carl Philpott, and Dr. Philip G. Chen.