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Safety-pin ingestion in children: a cultural fact

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Pediatric foreign-body (FB) ingestion is a common problem. Many of these FBs are sharp objects such as needles, toothpicks and safety pins (SP). This report reviews the management of SP ingestion in children. During a 16-year period, we recorded 49 pediatric cases of witnessed SP ingestion. In all children, SPs were used to attach the blue beads to the child's suits with the belief of averting the evil eye. The mean age was 8 months ranging from 4 months to 2 years, and 30 patients were males and 19 were females. SPs were most commonly sited in esophagus (37%) and stomach (37%). In the remainder, the SPs have already reached the duodenum and intestine. In this series, 20 (41%) children passed SPs spontaneously, 14 (28.5%) required endoscopic removal and 15 (30.5%) underwent surgery. The outcome of all patients was uneventful. All of the esophageal SPs require endoscopic intervention, however, after passing into stomach the patients can be observed with keeping the surgical intervention in mind if the SP displays a fixed position for more than three days.

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Correspondence to Feryal Gün.

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Gün, F., Salman, T., Abbasoglu, L. et al. Safety-pin ingestion in children: a cultural fact. Ped Surgery Int 19, 482–484 (2003).

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