Undetected penetrating bladder injuries presenting as a spontaneously expulsed bullet during voiding: a rare entity and review of the literature

J Emerg Med. 2013 Sep;45(3):e59-62. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2013.03.039. Epub 2013 May 25.


Background: Patients presenting with a penetrating missile lodged in the pelvis are at risk for having a urinary tract injury. Once in the bladder, the missile can become impacted in the urethra, causing retention that requires extraction. Rarely, the missile can be expulsed spontaneously through the urethra.

Objectives: To describe the world literature regarding undetected penetrating bladder injuries presenting as spontaneously voided bullets and to contribute an additional case to the literature.

Case report: We present a case report of a 37-year-old man who sustained a gunshot wound to the right buttock, with an undetected urinary system injury and subsequent spontaneous voiding of a bullet.

Conclusion: There have been <10 cases reported in the literature of spontaneously expulsed bullets from the urethra, all of which were undetected injuries on initial presentation. Physicians should be aware of the potential for undetected urinary tract injuries in patients with penetrating missiles to the pelvis and understand the appropriate evaluation and management strategies for these injuries.

Keywords: genitourinary trauma; penetrating bladder injury.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Buttocks / injuries
  • Colon, Sigmoid / injuries
  • Foreign Bodies / etiology
  • Foreign Bodies / urine*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Peritonitis / etiology
  • Peritonitis / surgery
  • Urinary Bladder / injuries*
  • Wounds, Gunshot / complications*