MUSCAT, Oman (AP) _ An increasing number of Moslem women have been accidentally swallowing veil needles as traditional dress makes a comeback, doctors say.

Surgeons at a hospital in Muscat recently treated six young patients who had swallowed needles.

Sociologists say working women in the city are reverting to traditional dress, which means swathing themselves in long head scarves that are held tightly in place by sharp steel needles.

''When they are getting dressed, they often hold these needles between their teeth so their hands are free,'' said Taha al-Delamie, a surgeon in the Department of Surgery at Muscat's Royal Hospital.

''With their head tilted backward while they adjust their headdress, it is very easy to ingest a needle accidentally,'' he said.