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Not All Radiopaque Foreign Bodies Shadow on Ultrasound: Unexpected Sonographic Appearance of a Radiopaque Magnet

Shiu-Cheung Chan, Sherwin MD, PhD; Russell, Marybeth BS, RDMS; Ho-Fung, Victor M. MD

doi: 10.1097/RUQ.0000000000000071
Case Reports

Foreign body ingestion is a common indication for imaging children. Ultrasound can be a useful adjunct to serial radiographs for evaluation of foreign bodies in the enteric tract. This case report describes a child who swallowed a single magnetic rock. Follow-up radiographs 4 days later could not determine progression of the foreign body beyond the stomach. Ultrasound was used to locate it, showing a structure with unexpected posterior reverberation artifact in the stomach. This was correlated with a similar magnet in a water bath demonstrating identical reverberation artifact. This report discusses the underlying factors for the different sonographic appearances and associated ultrasound artifacts of foreign bodies. This knowledge is important when performing sonography as adjunct modality for identification of foreign bodies in the gastrointestinal tract.

Perelman School of Medicine, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

Received for publication November 27, 2013; accepted January 14, 2014.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Sherwin Shiu-Cheung Chan, MD, PhD, Children’s Mercy Hospital, 2401 Gillham Rd, Kansas City, MO, 64111 (e-mail:

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins