Doctors have removed four more sewing needles from the neck of a 2-year-old Brazilian boy who was stuck with dozens by his stepfather in an alleged plot to spite his wife.

Doctors successfully operated on the toddler Monday in the northeastern city of Salvador. One of the four needles was dangerously close to his spine.

The boy was doing well following the three-hour surgery, Ana Neri Hospital spokeswoman Susy Moreno said.

Last week doctors removed 14 needles from the boy's intestines, liver and bladder, and in an earlier surgery they extracted four needles from near the toddler's heart and lungs.

Police have formally accused the stepfather, 30-year-old Roberto Carlos Magalhaes, of attempted murder. He recently said in a TV interview he tried to kill the child as revenge against his wife.

Police also formally accused Magalhaes' lover, 47-year-old Angelina Ribeiro dos Santos.

Magalhaes said he drugged the boy with a mixture of wine and water and had dos Santos hold the child down while he pushed nearly three dozen needles into the child's body. He said the boy was too drunk to cry while the needles were inserted, but felt pain after the alcohol wore off.

Magalhaes said he thought the needles would work their way through the boy's body and kill him without anyone discovering.

The needles were discovered on X-rays after the toddler's constant complaints led his mother to take him to a hospital.

The neck surgery had been scheduled for later in the week, but new exams Monday showed the needle near the spine could cause serious danger if not extracted quickly.