Ultrasound-Assisted Removal of A Fishbone Stuck in A Tongue in the Emergency Department

J Emerg Med. 2017 May;52(5):e175-e177. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2017.01.002. Epub 2017 Feb 28.


Background: Foreign body (FB) impaction in the oropharyngeal region-and specifically the tongue-is a common problem in the emergency department that often requires specialty consultation and admission for operative intervention. Over the years, the use of point of care ultrasound (POCUS) has increased ease and success of FB removal in other anatomic regions, but is only rarely reported for extraction of FB from the tongue outside of the operating room.

Case report: This case demonstrates a unique case of ultrasound-guided removal of a fishbone from the tongue in the emergency department after blind attempts failed. Operative intervention and admission were initially avoided; however, because of initial failed attempts and blind dissection before the use of POCUS, the patient presented a day later requiring admission for postprocedural tongue swelling and edema. WHY SHOULD AN EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN BE AWARE OF THIS?: Emergency physicians should be aware that POCUS may assist in FB localization in the tongue.

Keywords: emergency medicine; emergency ultrasound; foreign bodies; point of care ultrasound.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration
  • Fish Products / adverse effects
  • Foreign Bodies / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Point-of-Care Systems
  • Tongue / injuries*
  • Ultrasonography / instrumentation
  • Ultrasonography / methods*