Susuk: A Mystical Case of Charm Needle and A Review of Literature

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Susuk: A Mystical Case of Charm Needle and A Review of Literature

Tay HW, Ng KT, Namkabir S, Awang R, Ferdinand JK: Susuk: A Mystical Case of Charm Needle and A Review of Literature. Mal. J. Oral Maxillofac. Surg. 2020; 18: 9–15.

Abstract: ‘Susuk’ is a superstitious and traditional practice common in the Southeast Asian region. Believed to bring and enhance the beauty, health, wealth and strength of its wearers, these talismans called charm needles are inserted subcutaneously in different areas of the body but more commonly the orofacial region. A 28-year-old Malay gentleman presented with pain at the left cheek for one week. He claimed to have charm needles inserted by a traditional practitioner 4 years ago in his face and hands. Clinical examination was unremarkable except for a vaguely palpable area of firm tissue at the site of complaint. CBCT imaging showed a radiopaque foreign object measuring 1cm, resembling a hook-like needle. Surgical removal of the charm needle was done under local anaesthesia in our department with no complications. Interestingly, little or no reports have been found on the possible adverse effects, signs and symptoms or complications of ‘susuk’. It is increasingly being discovered as incidental radiographic finding and generally, no definitive treatment is required. However, a misdiagnosis of endodontic fillings, amalgam retention pins, brachytherapy beads or surgical clips may be possible and hence an awareness of this traditional practice is vital to prevent any mismanagement.