Use of a commercially available metal detector for the localization of metallic foreign body ingestion in children

J Otolaryngol. 2000 Aug;29(4):218-20.


Metallic foreign body (FB) ingestion is a common occurrence in the general paediatric population. We have shown that the use of a commercially available metal detector is sensitive in localizing and confirming metallic FB objects in the digestive tract.

Method: In a double-blinded randomized control trial, we used a commercially available metal detector to localize metal coins in the digestive tract in an animal model. Localization of the coins was confirmed using fluoroscopy. In 10 consecutive patients with metallic FB ingestion, detection and localization of the FB using the metal detector was compared with standard confirmatory radiographic imaging.

Results: Using a commercially available, hand-held metal detector, we were able to localize a metallic FB in the gastrointestinal tract with 100% sensitivity in both the animal model and in 10 paediatric patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Esophagus / diagnostic imaging*
  • Fluoroscopy / methods*
  • Foreign Bodies / diagnosis*
  • Foreign-Body Migration / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Metals*
  • Oropharynx / diagnostic imaging*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Stomach / diagnostic imaging*


  • Metals