Home > GENERAL > Radiology > Examination Method > X-RAY EXAMINATION FOR FOREIGN BODY


What Is Foreign Body?

  • An object or piece of extraneous matter that enter the body by accident or design. [1]

Why Is This Examination Performed?

  • For the detection of foreign body as well as to assist and verify foreign body removal.

Examples Of Foreign Body

  • Made of lead or contains corrosive chemicals like in batteries.

  • Has pointed or sharp edges like needles, pins, broken glass, toothpicks, razor blades, pop-off tabs from soda cans.

  • Coin and marble.

How Does The Foreign Body Get Lodged Into Our Body?

Foreign body may be inserted into the body accidentally or intentionally. They can become lodged or stuck in various part of the body. For example:

  • Ingestion

    • Food-related items, such as fish and chicken bones, are more often ingested by older children and adults.

  • Insertion

    • Foreign bodies like small bottles, test tubes, and drug packs  are purposely inserted into the rectum or accidentally into the ears.

    • Sharp object such as pin blade/ knife may also accidentally  inserted into the body.

  • Inhalation

    • Toddlers sometimes put small objects such as beans ,beads into their nose .

  • Intra orbital foreign body

    • Dust, dirt, sand, or other airborne material can lodge in the eyes as a result of high wind or an explosion.

Figure 1: Type of foreign body

Source: www.onlinejets.org

What Are The X-ray Examinations That Can Be Performed?

Although radiopaque foreign bodies will often be seen in X-rays, radiolucent objects such as wood are often not visualized.


    • Plain x-ray examination of the neck, chest, abdomen and pelvis.

    • Any other body part involved.


    • Computed tomography (CT) is an effective examination for visualization of foreign bodies such as fish bone, bullet and glass.


    • Ultrasonography detects and localizes superficial foreign bodies with low radiopacity in the tissues of the body like glass and stone.

Figure 2: Abdomen X-ray showing coin in the gut.

Source: www.learningradiology.com


  1. http://www.oxforddictionaries.com

  2. http://www.learningradiology.com


Last Reviewed : 9 June 2014
Writer : Premah V. Muniandy
Accreditor : Daud bin Ismail