4 Organs Most Vulnerable To Foreign Body Abrasions

The human body is made up of several biological components that work in synergy by consuming other biological elements produced in the body or introduced via orifices (openings) such as the mouth and the nose. However, our biological system only accepts elements that are biocompatible, i.e., usable by the bodily tissues. Any component that is non-biocompatible and isn’t meant to be a part of the physical process is considered to be a foreign body.

What Does ‘Foreign Body’ Refer To?

In a general medical context, the term ‘foreign body’ refers to any non-biocompatible object that is injected in the body through an orifice. Such objects are most often swallowed through the mouth or inhaled via the nose. Depending on the type of foreign body that has been introduced, they might stay benign and often pass down through the gastrointestinal tract, or they may stay inert and cause irritations and abrasions leading to a medical emergency. And the organs that are most commonly subjected to such foreign body abrasions are:

Stomach (Gastrointestinal Tract):

  • When a foreign body is swallowed, it either gets stuck in the oesophagus or enters the gastrointestinal tract (GI). 
  • The cases of such ingestions most commonly occur in small children who are intrigued and swallow small shiny objects such as coins, button batteries, pins, and pieces of toys. 
  • A small blunt object usually passes down the track and can be easily removed through excretion or vomiting techniques.
  • Large and sharp objects can partially or entirely block the GI and cause severe damage to the small intestine or, in rare cases, the large intestine, causing cramps, bloating, loss of appetite, vomiting, and sometimes fever. 
  • The most common symptoms one might experience or observe in such cases is feeling like something is stuck in the abdomen.

Windpipe (Airway track):

  • The most common objects inhaled through the nose include peanuts, latex balloons and grapes. 
  • Most of the time, these objects get ejected out due to coughing or sneezing.
  • These objects can lead to medical emergencies as they can block the windpipe and cause choking, which can almost immediately prove fatal.


  • Our eyes, being directly exposed to the external surroundings, are most vulnerable to foreign body contact and abrasions. Airborne particles can directly lodge into the eye surface and cause temporary irritations and infections. 
  • However, foreign objects carrying bacteria can lead to chronic diseases. Depending on the type and location of these bodies, they are dealt with in the following ways:
  • Bodies settled on the surface are removed with irrigation or damp cotton
  • Entities that have slightly penetrated the ocular surface are removed with a pointed sterile spud or needle
  • Objects that have penetrated through the ocular surface need to be removed surgically by an ophthalmologist. 

Peritoneum cavity:

  • The most common cases where a foreign body is found in the peritoneum cavity are when a surgical instrument is mistakenly retained in the cavity after surgery. 
  • Devices used for pregnancy tests can also penetrate through the uterine wall and lodge into the cavity.
  • In rare cases, these objects may get contained in a foreign body granuloma and lead to the formation of a lithopedion.


  • Splinters from large wooden furniture or other small particles easily pierce through the skin surface and are quite harmless. 
  • However, if these splinters carry bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus, they may form boils on the skin along with other complications.

Cases of foreign body consumption are more common than you might think and can be treated immediately without retaining severe damage in most cases. If you or your kids ever accidentally induce any foreign body in ear, nose & eye, or even by swallowing, you must immediately rush to your family doctor or the nearest hospital to have a foreign body removal treatment. Most of the hospitals and clinics have doctors who readily perform foreign body removal techniques for patients of all ages.

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