Safety Pin in Esophagus

Extraction Case

A safety pin in the esophagus is not nearly as common now, as in the days when most babies wore cloth diapers. When an open “safety” pin is swallowed, point up, the pin stretches the esophagus and eventually may poke through; causing a dangerous chest infection.

The point of an open safety pin is usually gently disengaged from the wall of the esophagus and “sheathed” within a rigid esophagoscope, before the pin is removed.

Alternatively, the pin can be gently pushed into the stomach, so that the circular “spring” can be grasped (with small forceps through a flexible esophagoscope) and the pin can be pulled back up through the esophagus (with the point “dangling”).

In a circa 1945 video, at the age of 80, Dr. Chevalier Jackson explained how showing a set of 16 “duplicate” safety pins to the patient’s family helped his team choose the best forceps for extraction.

Further below are images of karate pin, which was removed from the hypopharynx and esophageal inlet of an 8 month old (who had found it while crawling).