A foreign body describes an object which becomes stuck in the throat, causing problems with swallowing, breathing, or both. A foreign body may lodge in the area behind the tongue, in the vallecula, in the esophagus, or even within the windpipe or trachea. Objects that commonly lodge are fish bones, coins, meat such as steak, amongst many others.
Diagnosis of a foreign body focuses on a full head and neck examination. A flexible laryngoscopy or esophagoscopy may be performed to identify the location of the foreign body. Imaging, such as an X-ray or CT scan may be performed, but often times is only helpful if the object can be seen using these technologies. For example, a chicken bone is often seen on x-ray – however, sometimes fish bones, or even pieces of plastic are not visible.
Removal of a foreign body may require a direct laryngoscopy, esophagoscopy and removal of the object. This procedure is commonly performed in the operating room with the patient asleep. A laryngoscope is inserted through a patient’s mouth to identify the foreign body. Specialized instruments are used to grasp and then remove the foreign body.
Throatdisorder.com is an online resource for patients and physicians to learn more about common voice, swallowing, breathing and throat disorders. Throat complaints, from cough to cancer, are a common reason for patients to seek medical treatment. This website developed as a result of Dr. Sunil Verma's passions: that of education, patient care, and interest in technology.
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NOTE : The information presented on this site is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace consultation with a qualified physician. It may not be appropriate to your individual case, and should not be used in making treatment decisions, especially with regard to medication. Considerable effort is made to ensure that the information on this site is accurate, but medicine is a changing field, and this website is not responsible for errors or omissions. Use of this website acknowledges the above.