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Nasal Foreign Bodies

By

Marvin P. Fried

, MD, Montefiore Medical Center, The University Hospital of Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Reviewed/Revised Jul 2023
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Nasal foreign bodies are found occasionally in young children, the intellectually impaired, and patients with psychiatric conditions. Common objects pushed into the nose include cotton, paper, pebbles, beads, beans, seeds, nuts, insects, and button batteries (which may cause chemical burns). When mineral salts are deposited on a long-retained foreign body, the object is called a rhinolith.

A nasal foreign body is suspected in any patient with a unilateral, foul-smelling, bloody, purulent rhinorrhea. Diagnosis is often made through another party’s observation of the item being pushed into the nose or through visualization with a nasal speculum.

Nasal foreign bodies can sometimes be removed in the office with a nasal speculum and Hartmann nasal forceps (see How To Remove a Foreign Body from the Nose How To Remove a Foreign Body From the Nose Removal of a foreign body from the nose requires specific instruments and skills. Nasal foreign bodies are occasionally present in young children, the cognitively impaired, and psychiatric patients... read more ). Pretreatment with topical phenylephrine may aid visualization and removal. To avoid pushing a slippery, round object deeper, it is better to reach behind the object with the bent tip of a blunt probe and pull it forward. Sometimes, general anesthesia is necessary if a rhinolith has formed or if the foreign body may be displaced dorsally and then aspirated, resulting in airway obstruction.

Drugs Mentioned In This Article

Drug Name Select Trade
4-Way Nasal, Ah-Chew D, AK-Dilate, Anu-Med, Biorphen, Formulation R , Foster & Thrive Nasal Decongestion, Gilchew IR, Hemorrhoidal , IMMPHENTIV, Little Remedies for Noses, Lusonal, Mydfrin, Nasop, Nasop 12, Neofrin, Neo-Synephrine, Neo-Synephrine Cold + Allergy, Neo-Synephrine Extra Strength, Neo-Synephrine Mild, Ocu-Phrin, PediaCare Children's Decongestant, PediaCare Decongestant, PediaCare Infants' Decongestant, Sinex Nasal, Sudafed PE, Sudafed PE Children's Nasal Decongestant , Sudafed PE Congestion, Sudafed PE Sinus Congestion, Sudogest PE, Vazculep
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NOTE: This is the Professional Version. CONSUMERS: View Consumer Version
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