Foreign body removal may be necessary when an external object enters the body. Foreign bodies may be present if something has been ingested or inserted by the patient, or they can occur due to an accident. In some cases, ingested objects can pass through the digestive tract naturally and without complications, but some patients may need assistance to remove the foreign body. Foreign bodies may also need to be removed by a medical professional if they are causing pain or are in the eye or skin.
Common Types of Foreign Body Removal:
- Inhaled foreign bodies – Children are especially susceptible to inhaled foreign bodies because they explore their environment with their mouths. This can block the airways, which can cause choking. Common inhaled foreign bodies include peanuts, popcorn, grapes and hot dogs, as well as small toys that young children may put in their mouths. Latex balloons are also dangerous when inhaled because they can completely block the airway, which makes them very difficult to remove without medical assistance. Some inhaled foreign bodies can be removed through the Heimlich maneuver, while others require the assistance of a medical professional.
- Foreign bodies in the alimentary tract – Objects that are swallowed or inserted through the rectum may enter the alimentary tract, which is the passage between the mouth and the anus. Some items are small enough that the body will expel them naturally, but others are large enough that they may cause intestinal blockage. An X-ray or CT scan may be required to determine the exact location and movement of the foreign body, which will help doctors determine whether they need to surgically remove the object. If the item is small but potentially harmful, such as a button battery or a magnet, then doctors may decide to remove the foreign body before it causes damage.
- Foreign bodies in the skin – Foreign bodies may enter the skin through contact or an accident. Splinters are common foreign bodies, but they typically do not require medical assistance unless the wound has become infected. Foreign bodies may be present in a wound after a car accident, explosion or other injury, and they may require medical attention in order to prevent infection.
- Airborne particles – Particles in the air, such as pollen and dust, may enter the airway or eyes. These may trigger an allergic reaction, but they are not usually a medical emergency.
- Foreign bodies in the eye – Foreign bodies may become embedded in the eye while performing certain tasks or during an accident. Shards of glass and metal can be particularly dangerous and painful, and they may need to be removed professionally.
When to Seek Medical Attention:
If you are experiencing pain or irritation from a foreign body, come see us at SignatureCare, especially if:
- The foreign body is restricting the airway
- The foreign body is stuck in the eye or is very sharp
- A child is choking, is turning blue or cannot breathe
If you need 24 hour urgent care for a foreign body removal, visit one of our emergency room locations. We have medical professionals available 24/7 who can examine and remove the item so that you can be comfortable once again.
Foreign body removal might be necessary, if an object has entered your body. There are several types of common foreign body removals which can be treated at our emergency room. Our ER is open 24 hours. SignatureCare Emergency Center has board- certified physicians at all our emergency room locations. Schedule an emergency room appointment with us.