Why is it important to identify the type of foreign body ingested?
Although most foreign bodies traverse the GI tract without complication, specific exceptions require special attention. Button alkaline batteries may cause coagulation necrosis in the esophagus, but once they reach the stomach, gastric acid neutralizes their risk. Sharp objects can perforate any part of the alimentary tract. There is no known absolute size of a foreign body that dictates surgical intervention because the shape, composition, and sharpness of edges may play a key role. In general, inert, blunt objects measuring 3 × 3 cm pass through the intestine, whereas objects longer than 6 cm may become lodged in the C-loop of the duodenum. Ingested magnets from magnetic toy sets may be attracted to one another across multiple loops of bowel and lead to intestinal perforation caused by bowel wall erosion and necrosis between the magnets.