Permanently imbedded subcutaneous acupuncture needles: radiographic appearance

Ann Emerg Med. 1991 Sep;20(9):1025-6. doi: 10.1016/s0196-0644(05)82986-5.


During the evaluation of a victim of a motor vehicle accident, routine radiographs of the patient's cervical spine, chest, and pelvis revealed multiple radiopaque foreign bodies along his posterior neck, chest, abdomen, and pelvis. Repeat examination of the patient disclosed no evidence of foreign bodies. Further questioning revealed that the patient had received acupuncture therapy five years earlier in Korea. We discuss the radiographic findings of permanently imbedded subcutaneous acupuncture needles and their differential diagnosis. The medical complications of acupuncture are reviewed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic
  • Acupuncture Therapy / methods*
  • Adipose Tissue*
  • Adult
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Foreign Bodies / diagnosis
  • Foreign Bodies / diagnostic imaging*
  • Foreign Bodies / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Radiography