You may need endoscopic foreign body removal if you swallow (ingest) an object, such as a toy, a large pill, battery, or a large piece of food. Often, these items pass through the digestive tract on their own, but sometimes they become stuck. Swallowed foreign objects can cause a blockage, ulceration (sores), or a tear or hole in the lining of the digestive tract.
Although ingestions can happen to people of any age, they most typically occur with children, especially infants. Commonly swallowed items include:
- Animal or fish bones in food
- Pens or pencils
- Razor blades
Doctors may recommend an X-ray to pinpoint the location of the swallowed object. Items such as bones or pills may not appear on an X-ray. In rare cases, doctors may use a CT scan to locate the object.
Once doctors have identified and located the object, they will determine the next steps. If food is causing the obstruction, doctors may decide to push it into the stomach. People can typically digest the food, which then pass through the digestive tract on their own.
Foreign objects that need to be removed include:
- Anything that gets stuck in the esophagus
- Batteries, especially disk batteries that can disintegrate when exposed to stomach acid
- Objects larger than 6 cm (about 2.5 inches)
- Multiple magnets, which can attract to each other in separate areas of the intestines and cause a tear
- Pointed or sharp objects such as bones or razor blades