History and admission findings: A 21-year-old woman presented with predominantly right-sided cramp-like abdominal pain which had started the previous day. The abdomen was soft on palpation, the peristaltic sounds increased. Body temperature was normal.
Investigations: Routine laboratory tests were unremarkable, including white cell count (4.5 G/l). and C-reactive protein.
Treatment and course: She was admitted to hospital for observation. Because the symptoms persisted she underwent a right lower laparotomy because acute appendicitis was suspected. Intraperitoneal examination of the intestines revealed a soft, sponge-like foreign body just above the ileocecal valve. The overlying ileum was incised and a sponge removed. Postoperatively the patient reported having taken 4 capsules of CM3, a weight-reducing preparation, about 14 days ago. These capsules dissolve in the stomach and each releases a small sponge which expands and mechanically induces a feeling of satiation. The further course was unremarkable and she was discharged on the 8th postoperative day.
Conclusion: When producing weight-reducing preparations that act according to physico-mechanical principles, anatomical circumstances should be considered, and they should only be taken under medical supervision.