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3 Common Treatments for Foreign Objects in the Body

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3 Common Treatments for Foreign Objects in the Body

It's not uncommon to get a foreign body stuck in your skin. Sometimes, it's a small splinter from working with wood. Other common cases involve a larger piece of glass or metal. While it may not always seem like a big deal, allowing a foreign object to remain in your body can lead to infection or other complications. That's why it's essential to know when to seek medical attention for foreign-body removal.

Common Foreign Bodies

When people think of a foreign object in the skin, they often think of a splinter. And while these are common, other types of foreign bodies can get stuck in the body. The eyes, nose, ears, and throat are the usual places for foreign bodies to lodge themselves. This broadens the range of foreign bodies people need to be aware of. In addition to splinters, foreign bodies often include:

  • Bones
  • Buttons
  • Dirt and debris
  • Glass
  • Insects
  • Plant matter
  • Small beads or toys

Regardless of the type of foreign body, you have to seek medical attention if you cannot remove it on your own.

When to Seek Medical Attention

It Blocks the Airway

If the foreign body is lodged in your nose or throat, it could block your airway and make breathing difficult. When this happens, it's essential to get medical help immediately.

It's in the Eye

The eye is a delicate organ that a small foreign body can easily damage. Remember, never try to remove a foreign body from your eye with a sharp object like a tweezer or needle. Doing so could cause further damage.

It's Lodged Deep in the Skin

Just because you can't see the foreign body doesn't mean it isn't there. If you think a foreign object is stuck deep in your skin, seek medical attention immediately, or you may face possible infection.

3 Common Treatments for Foreign Objects in the Body

1. Endoscopic Foreign Body Removal

When someone swallows a foreign body, it often lodges itself in the throat or digestive tract. To remove the foreign body, doctors will use an endoscope. This is a long, thin tube with a light and camera. The endoscope is inserted through the mouth and down the throat. Once the foreign body is located, the doctor can either push it out through the stomach or remove it with a special tool.

2. Incision and Removal

If the foreign body is lodged deep in the skin, doctors may need to make a small incision to remove it. This is typically done under local anesthesia. Once the area is numb, the doctor will make a small cut and remove the foreign body. The incision is then closed with stitches or surgical tape.

3. Extraction Through Magnetic Pickup Tool

Magnetic extraction is a newer form of foreign body removal often used for small objects like beads or toys. Doctors will insert a long, thin tube with a magnet to remove the foreign body. The magnet is then used to pull the foreign body out through the tube.

Removing Foreign Bodies Safely at UF Health

If you have a foreign object lodged anywhere in your body, you should have it removed immediately. The longer it stays in, the greater the risk for infection or other complications.

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