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Endoscopic removal of foreign bodies in children.

The ingestion of foreign bodies such as coins, fish bones, plastic toy parts, batteries, and needles is common in children. Although the majority of ingested foreign bodies pass through the gastrointestinal tract unaided, some children require either nonsurgical or surgical intervention. The medical records of children who presented to the pediatric emergency department of a single tertiary referral center between December 2001 and May 2006 were reviewed. A total of 87 patients underwent an endoscopic procedure because of suspected foreign body ingestion and foreign bodies were identified by endoscopy in 74 patients (85.1%). The mean age of these 74 patients was 3.4 years (range, 6 months to 13 years). The most common site of foreign body lodgement was the esophagus (n = 38, 51.4%); other sites included the stomach (n = 33, 44.6%) and duodenum (n = 3, 4.0%). The types of foreign bodies included coins (n = 42, 56.8%), button batteries (n = 16, 21.6%), sharp objects (n = 9, 12.2%), chicken bones (n = 2, 2.7%) and others (n = 5, 6.7%). Only two foreign bodies (button batteries) in the duodenum could not be removed successfully by endoscopy. Instead, they were moved into the intestine and then eliminated spontaneously the following day. There were no major complications caused by foreign body ingestion or endoscopic procedures. The outcome of all patients was uneventful without morbidity or mortality. In our experience, endoscopic removal of foreign bodies under general anesthesia is an effective and safe method in children; the method also prevents erosion and perforation of the gastrointestinal tract.

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