Gastroenterology:   Photographs

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Sewing Needle in the Stomach


Sewing Needle in Stomach
Here is an example of how gastroscopy is sometimes used to make a molehill out of a mountain. This 28 year old single mom was trying to do the right thing by sewing a Merit Badge on her daughter's Girl Scout uniform. Like most moms, she was in a hurry. While adjusting the material, she placed the needle and thread between her lips. When she pulled on the thread, it came loose and the needle fell into her mouth. Before she realized it, she accidently swallowed it. After several hours, she came to our local emergency department. The ER doctor obtained an abdominal x-ray which showed that the needle was still inside her stomach. It had not yet entered the small intestine. We were called in to perform an emergency gastroscopy exam.

This photo was taken during that procedure. You can clearly see the sewing needle lying against the inner wall of the stomach. On the left, is the retrieval forceps which was used to grab the tip of the needle and pull it carefully into the hollow center of the gastroscope allowing the needle to be safely removed. She was lucky. If the needle had entered the small intestine, it would likely have traveled beyond the reach of the gastroscope. Major abdominal surgery would have been necessary. She was discharged from the ER a few hours later, somewhat embarrassed, but in good health.

Text & Images Courtesy of Three Rivers Endoscopy Center
© Dr. Robert Fusco, Three Rivers Endoscopy Center, All Rights Reserved

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