MedClinic > Blog > ENT > Foreign bodies in the pharynx


Foreign bodies of the pharynx – a phenomenon that is often encountered by ENT – doctors. This phenomenon can occur in all people, regardless of their age. But most often, foreign bodies of the pharynx are diagnosed in children, who can stick small objects into their mouths during a game. The danger of foreign objects in the throat is that they can completely block the air passage, causing mechanical asphyxiation, which can lead to death.

Ways of penetration of foreign bodies into the pharynx

The reasons for a foreign object entering the larynx of a person are associated with one’s indiscretion and non-compliance with safety measures in difficult working conditions. A foreign body enters the throat as follows:

  • if parents allow a small child to play with small details, while leaving him unattended;
  • carelessness of elderly people who suffer from poor eyesight or impaired coordination;
  • teenagers experimenting with their bodies;
  • ingestion of foreign objects in food;
  • work in hazardous production;
  • mistakes and carelessness of a doctor during medical procedures (for example, in the treatment of teeth).

Foreign bodies that end up in the human throat can be of animal and plant origin (shell, large pieces of meat, fish, bone), organic origin (parts of the bone tissue of teeth, dental prostheses). Inorganic bodies include various small objects, buttons, and details of children’s toys. Metal foreign bodies falling into the throat can be studs, parts of medical equipment, hardware.

How is it manifested?

The main symptoms that you need to pay attention to and seek medical help when they occur:

  • unpleasant sensations in the throat, discomfort;
  • pain in the throat, both when swallowing, and all the time;
  • violation of the breathing process;

Often children do not talk about what happened, but such silence can cost lives. The signs in which parents need to sound the alarm are as follows:

  • apathy of the child;
  • drowsiness;
  • fatigue;
  • lack of appetite;
  • pallor of the skin;
  • increased salivation;
  • nausea and vomiting;
  • strange facial expressions when swallowing.

Diagnosis and help


Diagnosis of the presence of foreign bodies in the throat does not present any particular difficulties. In most cases, patients know what exactly got into their throat, so additional methods of the medical examination are not required. If we are talking about a small child or if the person did not understand what exactly got into the throat, one is scheduled to undergo pharyngoscopy, X-ray, laryngoscopy.

Treatment of a foreign body in the throat involves surgical intervention. Any attempts at self-treatment do not make any sense but only can worsen the situation. If the foreign body is not too deep, the doctor, using special medical tweezers, can remove the item during the examination of the patient.

After removing the item, the walls of the larynx are irrigated with an antiseptic to prevent the development of infection and the inflammatory process. If the foreign body is deep, surgical intervention is performed using local anaesthesia. Dissection of the pharynx – pharyngotomy is an exceptional measure.

Extraction of foreign bodies from the pharynx is a process that is not particularly difficult for an ENT doctor. The main thing is to seek medical help on time and not try to remove a foreign object yourself. If a foreign body gets into the oesophagus, the consequences can be very different, and it will be much more difficult to extract.