Hello, I’m Dr. Cynthia Rigsby, a pediatric radiologist at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. I’d like to talk with you about foreign body retrieval.
Foreign body retrieval is the removal of potentially dangerous objects that have been inserted, inhaled, swallowed or otherwise introduced into the body. Children typically swallow the greatest number of objects. These can range from coins, buttons and nails to magnets, batteries and small toys.
Some objects cause no symptoms when swallowed. Others may cause drooling or difficulty swallowing. Larger objects may become lodged in the stomach or intestinal tract and cause cramping, bloating, vomiting and sometimes fever. Objects in the airway are usually expelled by coughing. However, they may become trapped in the lung and require bronchoscopy to remove them.
If you suspect that your child has swallowed something, contact your doctor immediately. Tell your doctor about your child’s recent illnesses, medical conditions, medications and allergies, especially to contrast materials. Treatment will depend on the type of foreign body and nature of the symptoms.
Foreign bodies may be removed in the emergency room, x-ray department, operating room or interventional radiology suite. Depending on the method, your child may undergo anesthesia in order to locate and remove the object.
Prompt removal of a foreign body will reduce your child’s chances of infection or allergic reaction. It will also help ensure that swallowed objects do not migrate to other areas of the body or cause injury.
To learn more about foreign body retrieval, visit Radiology Info dot org.