Body Packing

  • Antonio Pinto
  • Alfonso Reginelli
  • Anna Russo
  • Giuseppina Fabozzi
  • Sabrina Giovine
  • Luigia Romano


Body packing is the covering of illegal drugs in the abdominal or pelvic cavity of the human body. “Body packers” either swallow drug-filled packets or introduce drug-filled packets into their bodies rectally or vaginally with the purpose of concealing them. A suspected body packer is generally admitted to hospital to perform imaging investigations and confirm the presence of drugs in his/her body. Radiological imaging methods are essential to diagnose body packing and to detect potential complications. Current protocols recommend the use of radiography to confirm packet retention and, in case of doubt, the use of abdominal CT scan with reduced mAs. In case of packet rupture, catastrophic effects can occur.

In this chapter we discuss the challenging aspects of body packing, its background, and medicolegal issues related to the radiological assessment of body packers.


Body packing Body pusher Drug smuggling Abdominal X-ray Ultrasonography Computed tomography 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antonio Pinto
    • 1
  • Alfonso Reginelli
    • 2
  • Anna Russo
    • 2
  • Giuseppina Fabozzi
    • 3
  • Sabrina Giovine
    • 3
  • Luigia Romano
    • 1
  1. 1.Azienda Ospedaliera dei Colli, Monaldi-Cotugno-CTONaplesItaly
  2. 2.Department of Internal and Experimental MedicineUniversity of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”NaplesItaly
  3. 3.Department of RadiologySG Moscati HospitalAversaItaly

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