Foreign Bodies in the Gastrointestinal Tract

It is safe to generalize that anything that reaches the stomach will eventually traverse the GI tract and be spontaneously evacuated through the rectum. Nails, open safety pins, pieces of glass, and coins are examples of objects that have traveled the intestinal tract completely. It may take weeks for a coin, for example, to complete the trip to the anus. Any foreign body caught in the esophagus must be removed by esophagoscopy (see Chap 75). Very rarely is surgical removal of a foreign body in the stomach or distal to the stomach warranted. Occasionally, a long, thin foreign body may not traverse the duodenum and may need to be removed surgically. Round objects almost always pass spontaneously.

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