Button batteries in the ear, nose and upper aerodigestive tract

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2004 Apr;68(4):473-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2003.10.020.


Objectives: With the miniaturization of electronic devices, the demand and usage of button batteries has risen. As a result, button batteries are more readily available for young children to handle and potentially mishandle. They are frequently inadvertently placed by children in their ears or noses. Occasionally they are swallowed and lodged along the upper aerodigestive tract.

Methods: We outline the pathophysiology of button battery-induced trauma and present key radiological features of button batteries that are important in preventing delayed diagnosis after pediatric ingestion.

Results: Button batteries of all sizes have a distinctive double contour on radiographs.

Conclusions: Button battery ingestion requires prompt diagnosis and removal. A high index of suspicion along with radiographs help assist with the diagnosis. Potential tragic complications can be averted with expeditious removal.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Ear*
  • Female
  • Foreign Bodies / complications
  • Foreign Bodies / diagnostic imaging*
  • Foreign Bodies / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Nose*
  • Radiography, Thoracic
  • Upper Gastrointestinal Tract*