Nasal foreign body removal in children

Pediatr Emerg Care. 2008 Nov;24(11):785-92; quiz 790-2. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e31818c2cb9.


Nasal foreign bodies in children are often managed in the pediatric emergency department. The child is usually between 2 and 4 years old, and the foreign body is most commonly a plastic toy or bead. Nasal foreign bodies are removed by a number of techniques. Positive-pressure expulsion is accomplished by orally applied pressure via a parent's mouth or an Ambu bag or by nasally applied pressure via a catheter or an oxygen source. The object can be washed out with nasally applied saline. Direct mechanical extraction is possible with a variety of tools, including forceps, hooks, or balloon-tipped catheters. Each method carries its own risks and benefits. Serious complications of nasal foreign bodies include posterior dislodgement and aspiration, trauma caused by the object itself or removal attempts, infection, and choanal stenosis. Magnets and button batteries require emergent removal as they carry the risk of septal perforation or necrosis, which may develop within a relatively short time.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Catheterization / methods
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Education, Medical, Continuing
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Emergency Treatment
  • Endoscopy / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Foreign Bodies / complications
  • Foreign Bodies / diagnosis
  • Foreign Bodies / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Magnetics
  • Male
  • Nasal Cavity*
  • Nasal Obstruction / etiology
  • Nasal Obstruction / therapy*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Surgical Instruments
  • Therapeutic Irrigation / methods
  • Treatment Outcome