The use of either flexible endoscopy (FE) or rigid endoscopy (RE) for removal of ingested foreign bodies (FBs) impacted in the esophagus is still discussed controversially.
We report a consecutive series of 139 patients with FB impaction in the esophagus. During a 6-year period, 69 men and 70 women (median age, 64 [0.7–97] years) requiring removal of an impacted FB underwent either RE (n = 63) in the Otolaryngology Department of our hospital or FE (n = 76) in the Surgical Endoscopy Unit.
Foreign body removal was equally effective with FE (success rate 93.4%) and RE (95.2%, p = n.s.). The cases in which foreign body removal failed (5 FE cases [6.6%] and 3 RE cases [4.8%]) were all subsequently successfully managed with “conversion” and use of the other technique. No severe complications occurred when FB removal was attempted with FE (0 of 76 cases; 0.0%), whereas RE was associated with esophageal rupture requiring immediate surgical intervention in 2 of 63 cases (3.2%; p < 0.002). Patient comfort differed significantly between the two procedures (p < 0.0001); RE was always performed under general anesthesia (100.0%), whereas only a minority of patients undergoing FE required general anesthesia (13.0%; p < 0.0001) or mild analgosedation (20.0%). The better patient comfort with FE was also reflected in a significantly lower rate of dysphagia (15%) compared to RE (48%; p < 0.0001). Rigid endoscopy was more frequently used in removal of FBs of the upper esophagus (p < 0.0001), whereas FE was the predominate approach to FBs in the lower esophagus (p < 0.0001).
A tailored approach to treatment of FB impaction is recommended. Because of the lower rate of severe complications, better patient comfort with a lower rate of dysphagia, and lack of requirement for general anesthesia, FE should be the “first line” approach to FBs, although RE has its place as the “second line” therapy.
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Gmeiner, D., von Rahden, B.H.A., Meco, C. et al. Flexible versus rigid endoscopy for treatment of foreign body impaction in the esophagus. Surg Endosc 21, 2026–2029 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00464-007-9252-6
- Flexible esophagoscopy
- Rigid esophagoscopy
- Foreign body ingestion
- Therapeutic algorithm
- Success rates Complications