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Swallowed Object (cont.)

Swallowed Object Surgery

Items stuck for a longer period of time lead to erosion of the esophagus. These usually make the patient very ill. Once erosion occurs, surgery is needed to remove the item and to repair any damage and prevent further erosion and infection.

Swallowed Object Follow-up

Follow up with a doctor or a specialist is recommended. Some objects retained inside the body need to be monitored with periodic X-rays to be sure they come out. A full evaluation of the esophagus is necessary after removal of an object from that area. This ensures that the anatomy of the esophagus is normal. Generally, a routine follow-up is all that is needed. Complications from swallowed objects are, the exception not the rule.

Swallowed Object Prevention

  • Keep small objects, including coins, toy parts, and button batteries, out of the reach of small children.
  • Cut food into the appropriate size for both adults and children.
  • If adults are having progressive difficulty swallowing solids, a liquid or puree diet will help with symptoms until medical attention can be obtained.

Swallowed Object Prognosis

With early recognition and removal, most people recover well after swallowing something they should not, or if an object becomes stuck.

  • Some people who get food lodged in their esophagus must then undergo further testing to ensure there is no correctable narrowing or cancer of the esophagus.
  • Foreign bodies not removed must be monitored with periodic x-rays to ensure they have moved through and out of the body. This is especially true for button batteries and sharp objects. Coordination with the family doctor is imperative.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care

REFERENCE: Pediatric Foreign Body Ingestion.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/12/2016
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