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An operation to restore a smile. An infant’s mysterious infection. And a patient whose X-ray reveals a long history of swallowing metal objects. These were some of the most engaging medical cases shared by both renowned institutions and dedicated medical professionals on Figure 1 in February.

Healthcare professionals around the world use Figure 1 to learn from real medical cases shared by their colleagues. We identified these cases as the month’s most engaging based on:

Community Metrics: The number of times they were viewed, discussed, and shared by the more than 2M healthcare professionals on the platform.

Clinical Value: Our medical and community teams assess the quality, complexity, and educational merit of our top cases to highlight the most credible and clinically useful material.

This month’s top cases showcase the depth and breadth of medicine as it was discussed around the world in February, offering a unique window on healthcare as it happens.

1. “This one’s for the students”

In this excellent teaching case shared by an internal medicine resident from Western Australia, the community was challenged to make sense of an unusual chest X-ray.

“Does the patient have severe kyphosis?” asked a medical student. “To me, it looks like the patient is unable to lift [their] head out of the way of the lung field, because of a severe curvature in the back.”

“Yep!” replied the resident. “The patient has severe kyphoscoliosis. This case illustrates the importance of clinical correlation. If you walk into the patient’s room, the abnormality here is immediately explained.”

2. “A buccal mucosal defect and retained crayon were found at surgery”

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital is a pioneer in medical communication, and their radiology department was the first in the world to join Figure 1. This case features a toddler who fell while running with a crayon in the mouth. The crayon lodged in a compartment deep in the child’s face and was only discovered a month later, after it had caused severe inflammation.

3. “This surgery allows a person to smile”

Dr Samuel Oyer is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon specializing in facial reanimation. His work was shared by his hospital, the Medical University of South Carolina, and in this case he was performing a masseteric nerve transfer to reanimate paralyzed facial muscles. As the hospital explained in the case caption, “This surgery allows a person to smile by clenching the jaw.”

4. “45yoF with hard fall down 8 steps”

This case comes from Dr. Kathryn Ko, a New York City neurosurgeon and a pillar of Figure 1’s community. In her weekly cases, Dr. Ko typically annotates the scans to highlight what she is seeing. Here, a 45-year-old woman fell down a flight of stairs, sustaining a spinal injury and immediate lower-body weakness.  The patient underwent surgery soon after. “These are complex cases requiring two surgeons, spinal cord monitoring, instrumentation technicians, specialized nursing team,” Dr. Ko explained.

5. “Long recurrent history of ingesting metal foreign bodies”

In this case shared by a physician assistant student, a hacksaw blade and a safety pin are among the many foreign bodies seen on the patient’s abdominal X-ray. This case demonstrated how imaging findings can help to inform a psychiatric assessment.


To connect with healthcare professionals around the world who are viewing, discussing, and sharing medical images, join Figure 1.