Fish and chicken bones may be swallowed by accident. Often no problems occur but sometimes they do.


Features of chicken and fish bones that are swallowed:

(1) They may be small.

(2) They may have a sharp end, either naturally or after being broken.


The bone may:

(1) become stuck, especially in the esophagus

(2) penetrate the bowel wall

(2a) involving the pancreas

(2b) entering the abdominal cavity



(1) chest or abdominal pain

(2) infection (abscess, peritonitis)

(3) hemorrhage

(4) obstruction

(5) become incorporated into an intra-gastric bezoar


The bones can be localized by a variety of imaging methods. Locating the bone is helpful in planning the intervention to remove the bone. While CT is effective for localizing bones, other methods may be cheaper and more readily available.


Many bones can be removed by endoscopy or laparoscopy.


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