Skip to main content
Log in

Management of Retained Colorectal Foreign Bodies: Predictors of Operative Intervention

  • Original Contributions
  • Published:
Diseases of the Colon & Rectum


This study was designed to review experience at our hospital with retained colorectal foreign bodies.


We reviewed the consultation records at Los Angeles County + University of Southern California General Hospital from October 1993 through October 2002. Ninety-three cases of transanally introduced, retained foreign bodies were identified in 87 patients. Data collected included patient demographics, extraction method, location, size and type of foreign body, and postextraction course.


Of 93 cases reviewed, there were 87 individuals who presented with first-time episodes of having a retained colorectal foreign body. For these patients, bedside extraction was successful in 74 percent. Ultimately, 23 patients were taken to the operating room for removal of their foreign body. In total, 17 examinations under anesthesia and 8 laparotomies were performed (2 patients initially underwent an anesthetized examination before laparotomy). In the eight patients who underwent exploratory laparotomy, only one had successful delivery of the foreign object into the rectum for transanal extraction. The remainder required repair of perforated bowel or retrieval of the foreign body via a colotomy. In our review, a majority of cases had objects retained within the rectum; the rest were located in the sigmoid colon. Fifty-five percent of patients (6/11) presenting with a foreign body in the sigmoid colon required operative intervention vs. 24 percent of patients (17/70) with objects in their rectum (P = 0.04).


This is the largest single institution series of retained colorectal foreign bodies. Although foreign objects located in the sigmoid colon can be retrieved at the bedside, these cases are more likely to require operative intervention.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1.

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Gould GM, Pyle W. Anomalies and curiosities of medicine. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1901:645–8

  2. JS Haft HB Benjamin (1973) ArticleTitleForeign bodies in the rectum: some psychosexual aspects Med Asp Hum Sexual 7 74–95

    Google Scholar 

  3. WP Kleitsch (1949) ArticleTitleForeign bodies in the rectum: a case report Milit Surg 105 215–7

    Google Scholar 

  4. MA Lucas JE Ryan (1947) ArticleTitleRectal foreign bodies: unusual case report of foreign body in the rectum and sigmoid J Ky Med Assoc 45 289–90

    Google Scholar 

  5. WF Gillespie (1934) ArticleTitleA Vaseline bottle in the rectum Can Med Assoc J 31 302

    Google Scholar 

  6. SH Macht (1944) ArticleTitleForeign body (bottle) in rectum Radiology 42 500–1

    Google Scholar 

  7. AG Butters (1955) ArticleTitleAn unusual rectal injury BMJ 2 602–3

    Google Scholar 

  8. EM Lowicki (1966) ArticleTitleAccidental introduction of giant foreign body in the rectum: case report Ann Surg 163 395–8 Occurrence Handle1:STN:280:CCmC3c3nsV0%3D Occurrence Handle5907563

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. D Siroospour LR Dragstedt (1975) ArticleTitleA large foreign body removed through the intact anus: report of a case Dis Colon Rectum 18 616–9 Occurrence Handle1:STN:280:CSmD2czisFI%3D Occurrence Handle1181166

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. RC Hunter (1954) ArticleTitleForeign body (light bulb) in the rectosigmoid colon US Armed Forces Med J 5 1058–60

    Google Scholar 

  11. JP Hughes HP Marice JB Gathright SuffixJr (1976) ArticleTitleMethod of removing a hollow object from the rectum Dis Colon Rectum 19 44–5 Occurrence Handle1:STN:280:CSmC3MjjvVA%3D Occurrence Handle1248348

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. JE Barone N Sohn TF Nealon (1976) ArticleTitlePerforation and foreign bodies of the rectum: report of 28 cases Ann Surg 184 601–4 Occurrence Handle1:STN:280:CSiD2cznt10%3D Occurrence Handle984928

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. RA Crass RF Tranbaugh KA Kudsk DD Trunkey (1981) ArticleTitleColorectal foreign bodies and perforation Am J Surg 142 85–8 Occurrence Handle10.1016/0002-9610(81)90306-8 Occurrence Handle1:STN:280:Bi6B2MzjvVM%3D Occurrence Handle7258519

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. JE Barone J Yee TF Nealon (1983) ArticleTitleManagement of foreign bodies and trauma of the rectum Surg Gynecol Obstet 156 453–7 Occurrence Handle1:STN:280:BiyC2s7pt1E%3D Occurrence Handle6836461

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. M Eftaiha E Hambrick H Abcarian (1977) ArticleTitlePrinciples of management of colorectal foreign bodies Arch Surg 112 691–5 Occurrence Handle1:STN:280:CSiC1c%2FnvFQ%3D Occurrence Handle871246

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. JS Cohen JM Sackier (1996) ArticleTitleManagement of colorectal foreign bodies J R Coll Surg Edinb 41 312–5

    Google Scholar 

  17. M Yaman M Deitel CJ Burul B Shahi B Hadar (1993) ArticleTitleForeign bodies in the rectum Can J Surg 36 173–7 Occurrence Handle1:STN:280:ByyB3s%2FkvV0%3D Occurrence Handle8472230

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. CJ Couch E Tan A Watt (1986) ArticleTitleRectal foreign bodies Med J Aust 144 512–5 Occurrence Handle1:STN:280:BimB3s%2Fit1E%3D Occurrence Handle3713565

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. AN Kingsley H Abcarian (1985) ArticleTitleColorectal foreign bodies: management update Dis Colon Rectum 28 941–4 Occurrence Handle4064854

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. B Ooi Y Ho K Eu D Nyam A Leong F Seow-Choen (1998) ArticleTitleManagement of anorectal foreign bodies: a cause of obscure anal pain ANZ J Surg 68 852–5 Occurrence Handle10.1046/j.1440-1622.1998.01463.x Occurrence Handle1:STN:280:DyaK1M7gtV2mug%3D%3D

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Robert W. Beart Jr M.D..

Additional information

Reprints are not available.

About this article

Cite this article

Lake, J., Essani, R., Petrone, P. et al. Management of Retained Colorectal Foreign Bodies: Predictors of Operative Intervention. Dis Colon Rectum 47, 1694–1698 (2004).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Key words