HomeAnswersOtolaryngology (E.N.T)accidental swallow of aluminum foilI swallowed a small piece of aluminum foil. Should I be concerned?

What could be done to remove a small piece of aluminum foil swallowed accidentally?


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Published At November 3, 2023
Reviewed AtNovember 3, 2023

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

I accidentally swallowed a small piece of aluminum foil over 2 hours ago. It is stuck in my throat, right above my collarbones. Will the emergency room doctors be able to see the foil with the tube down my nose into my throat, or is an endoscopy the only way? I do not want to do an endoscopy. I have had a tube down my nose to see my throat before and wondered if this was the only option. I always have had solids stuck in my throat, and I have an appointment with my gastroenterologist for a barium swallow.

Thank you.


Welcome to Icliniq.com. I understand your concern.

Depending on the location of the foreign body in the throat, the issue can be approached in various ways. To check the location we can do a radiograph, or X-ray of the neck (anteroposterior view and lateral view). This helps to know the exact position. Next, depending on the position, we can either do a rigid laryngoscopy (a procedure to look into the larynx) or upper gastrointestinal endoscopy (a procedure to view the upper part of the digestive system) to remove it. A barium swallow also helps localize the foreign body. If it is stuck above the larynx, (like in the base of the tongue, above vocal cords, in the pyriform sinus, in the tonsillar area, or upper pharynx), we can remove using laryngoscopy. The scope will be placed through the open mouth with your tongue held outside by the doctor's left hand. Now when the foreign body is visualized, long twisted forceps can be used to remove it. If the foreign body is still deeper, (like the esophagus or lower than the larynx), anesthesia might be required to remove it as it will be difficult to do as an office procedure. A barium swallow can substitute an endoscopy to localize the problem. However, the foreign body cannot be removed using this method. It is better to seek medical attention immediately. Emergency doctors will localize the foreign body through an X-ray or CT (computerized tomography) scan and call upon the specialists for proper intervention.

I hope this information will help you. Please revert in case of further queries.

Thank you.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Shyam Kalyan. N
Dr. Shyam Kalyan. N

Otolaryngology (E.N.T)

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