Foreign Body Removal

Foreign body retrieval is the removal of objects or substances that have been introduced into the body. Objects may be inhaled into the airway, swallowed or lodged in the throat or stomach, or embedded in the soft tissues. About 80 percent of foreign body ingestions occur among children. Most foreign bodies pass through the gastrointestinal tract without complication, and endoscopic or surgical intervention is required only 10 to 20 percent of the time.

Evaluation and treatment will depend on the type of foreign body and how it was introduced. If it was swallowed, you may undergo a direct examination of your throat and esophagus or an x-ray examination. If it is lodged in a soft tissue, such as a splinter embedded under the skin, you may undergo an ultrasound, x-ray or CT scan to locate and remove the object. Tell your doctor if there’s a possibility you are pregnant and discuss any recent illnesses, medical conditions, medications you’re taking and allergies, especially to iodinated contrast materials.

Foreign body retrieval involves the removal of potentially dangerous objects or substances in the body that have been introduced from the outside.

They can be inhaled into the airway or swallowed and enter the esophagus and stomach either accidentally or intentionally, or introduced into the soft tissues. Commonly swallowed objects include coins, buttons, pins, nails, glass pieces, toothpicks, batteries, small toys or pieces of toys and fish bones. Swallowing of magnets can cause significant problems including bowel blockages that may require surgical removal of magnets.

Foreign bodies in the throat or stomach:

Some ingested foreign bodies cause no symptoms. Alternatively, the patient may experience a sensation of something being stuck in their throat or esophagus. Drooling and difficulty swallowing are common symptoms. A small sharp object may become lodged in the esophagus and cause pain, even though they are able to swallow. Larger foreign bodies can partially or completely obstruct the stomach, the small intestine or, in rare cases, the large intestine, causing cramps, bloating, loss of appetite, vomiting, and sometimes fever. A sharp object that pierces the stomach or intestines can cause severe abdominal pain, fever, fainting and shock.