The Most Interesting Medical Cases of Foreign Bodies

We see some jaw-dropping medical cases shared by the Figure 1 community, but these cases of foreign bodies definitely caught our attention. Here are five of the most interesting cases we found. 


This foreign body is easy to identify. A child ingested the key and it became “lodged in the proximal esophagus.” The radiology team that shared the case explained that large ingested items “lodge in 3 different locations within the esophagus: at the upper esophageal sphincter, in the mid esophagus at the level of the aortic arch, and at the distal esophagus at the lower esophageal sphincter.” 

A registered nurse who commented on the case noted that the outcome for this case was likely positive, “Extraction with esophagoscopy should be easily achieved.”

See the lateral view


In this case, a child inserted an open safety pin into the nose. According to the medical resident who shared the case, the parents unsuccessfully tried to remove it, then “ENT attempted at bedside and failed. Ended up going to OR and doing endoscopy …”

Find out how the pin was finally removed


This third most interesting medical case of a foreign body shows that not just children can accidentally ingest objects. In this case, an adult swallowed two items from their bedside table, thinking they were pills. The most popular guess from the Figure 1 community as to what the patient ingested was earrings. 

Can you figure it out?


Here’s a case shared by an emergency medicine resident. A patient arrived at the emergency department “stating that he had ‘swallowed his $1,000 gold chain’.” While experiencing drug-induced psychosis, the patient worried the necklace would be stolen and swallowed it “after ripping it into 3 pieces and making into small swallowable balls.”

Find out how the chain was removed


In this top most interesting medical case of a foreign body, according to the Figure 1 member who shared the case, a “14-yo presents with abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting. Abdominal CT obtained due to concern for acute appendicitis. ‘Strangely-shaped enterolith’ seen on CT.” The patient eventually admitted that they ingested something several days prior in a “rebellious act against parents.” The object ultimately needed to be removed surgically.

See what they extracted

Published September 18, 2023

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