Foreign Body Impaction


Food and a variety of other swallowed objects can become impacted in the pharynx or upper esophagus.

In children, these objects apart from food can be play objects, toy pieces, coins, safety pins; fish bones, poorly chewed meat, dentures mainly in adults.

Sharp objects may be arrested in the
oropharynx, most others at the
cricopharyngeal sphincter.

Clinical features

  • Dysphagia, drooling of saliva, cough at times.


  • Perforation of oesophagus, mediastinitis, aspiration pneumonitis


  • Radiogragh of neck and chest

Treatment objectives:

  • To remove foreign body expeditiously

Non-drug treatment

  • Removal under local anaesthetic if object visualised in oropharynx
  • Removal under general anaesthetic
    with oesophagoscopy if object is in hypopharynx or cervical oesophagus

Drug treatment

  • Antibiotic prophylaxis if indicated (Amoxicillin)

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