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Information for Parents

Foreign body in Esophagus/Stomach/Abdomen

  • What is this disease?

    • Foreign body aspiration and foreign body ingestion are common accidents in childhood . 80% of paediatric foreign body aspirations occur in children 0-3 years, with the peak incidence between 1-3 years of age.  Commonest foreign bodies ingested are coins , followed by sharp objects , for example needles. Other common foreign bodies are batteries, toy parts, bones (i.e chicken or fish) and jewellery.

  • How it is diagnosed?

    • It is diagnosed by History, clinical examination followed by X-ray chest, neck and abdomen.

  • How it is treated?

    • Treatment includes watchful waiting to removal of foreign body by endoscopic means. Rarely, surgical intervention may be needed for complications

  • When it should be operated?

    • Urgent intervention is indicated if any of the following warning signs are present:

    • When the ingested object is a high-powered magnet or magnets

    • When the ingested object is sharp, long (>5 cm), and is in the oesophagus or stomach.

    • When a disk battery is in the oesophagus or in the stomach

    • When the patient shows signs of airway compromise.

    • When there is evidence of near-complete oesophageal obstruction (eg, patient cannot swallow secretions).

    • When there are signs or symptoms suggesting inflammation or intestinal obstruction (fever, abdominal pain, or vomiting).

  • Are there other alternative methods of treatment?

    • Various methods have been used to remove oesophageal foreign bodies. They include rigid and flexible endoscopy, bougienage, Foley catheterization of the oesophagus, and the "penny pincher" technique. However, endoscopic removal under vision is considered to be safest. For foreign body in stomach, flexible endoscopy is ideal.

  • What all I need to know before my child surgery?

    • Read “All you need to know before your child's surgery” information booklet in website.

  • How is the surgery done?

    • Flexible esophagogastroscopy involves passing a pediatric flexible endoscope (esophagoscope) of appropriate size through mouth into esophagus and stomach  and removal of  foreign body through specially made graspers under anaesthesia and  vision. Rarely, rigid endoscopy may be needed for removal of foreign body

  • Remarks

    • For more details of surgery, contact your surgeon

  • Related Photographs and videos

    • Few photographs of steps done by me and video is given here for learning purposes

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