Top 10 Foreign Bodies

From time to time little things get lost. Whether you are playing billiards naked in the dark; counting money with your tongue; battling with an electric rolling pin….or just ‘slipping’ whilst in the shower….you may be unlucky enough to find yourself in the emergency department desperately trying to manifest a more tangible excuse for foreign body concealment.

These are my top 10 foreign bodies.

10 Not the tastiest treats in the cupboard

Can you identify all the objects – and spot the odd one out…


Ingested Abdominal Foreign Bodies

9 Toxic Ingestions

Iron tablets are among a select group of preparations which are radio-opaque. An X-ray can be a great way of determining the exact number of tablets ingested of this potentially lethal substance.

Iron Tablet Overdose

Iron Tablet Overdose

Fortunately mercury thermometers are going out of fashion. Don’t sneeze when your temperature is being taken…


Mercury Ingestion from shattered thermometer

8 Mmm that looks yummy Mummy

Ear-rings, paper clips, screws and spoons are not liable to degrade quickly upon ingestion…

Ear-Ring_FB PaperClip
Screw Spoon_I_Have_Eaten_Everything_Mum

7 Money in the Bank

Money_10c_3 Money_10c
Money_50c_AP Money_50c_lat

6 Mea culpa

Sometimes cavity penetration occurs through no fault of the patient…

RMB intubation

Right Main Bronchus (RMB) Intubation


Right and Left Bronchus Nasogastric Intubation

5 Not the Full 8-ball

Warning: Playing billiards, naked, in the rain…at night – may result in serious injury


4 Beware the Button Battery

ButtonBattery_2 Button_Battery

3 The Classics

Who knew there were so many varieties of electric rolling pins?

Vibrator_001_AP Vibrator_001_Lat
Vibrator_002_AP Vibrator_002_Lat
3266450 Vibrator_004

2 Serial Offender

Iron deficiency may be a reason behind the ingestion of some metallic objects.

Abdominal Foreign Bodies

Can you guess how many objects were ingested?

MMmm – Surgeons in Rotterdam in the Netherlands were flabbergasted when X-rays showed 78 different items of cutlery in the 52-year-old woman’s stomach.


Ingestion of 78 pieces of Cutlery!

MMMmmm Shiny

MMMmmm Shiny

1 “Can’t Beat the Feeling!”

This is my favourite, mainly because of the inventive excuse used to explain the placement of a 375mL effervescent drink bottle. As a result of the alleged causative event the team at Life in the Fast Lane issue the following warning.

Warning: Narrow necked bottles should not be used to collect urine specimens

Feeling Thirsty?

Feeling Thirsty?

Bottom Bottle Lateral

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    • says

      …10 -- the odd one out is the ‘non-ingested’ foreign body -- the IUCD (intra-uterine contraceptive device)
      …6 -- foreign body is the iatrogenically placed ETT (endotracheal tube) -- which should be in the trachea…but not the right main bronchus