Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are a health care professional

Loading

Nasal Foreign Bodies

By

Marvin P. Fried

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

Last full review/revision Jun 2020| Content last modified Jun 2020
Click here for Patient Education
NOTE: This is the Professional Version. CONSUMERS: Click here for the Consumer Version

Nasal foreign bodies are found occasionally in young children, the intellectually impaired, and psychiatric patients. 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. 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
No US brand name
Click here for Patient Education
NOTE: This is the Professional Version. CONSUMERS: Click here for the Consumer Version
Professionals also read

Also of Interest

Videos

View All
Cochlear Implant
Video
Cochlear Implant
When sound waves reach the ear, they are gathered by the funnel-shaped outer ear and channeled...
3D Models
View All
Middle Ear and Inner Ear
3D Model
Middle Ear and Inner Ear

SOCIAL MEDIA

TOP