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Discovery of a Glass Splinter in the Abdominal Cavity After an Old Impalement Injury: A Case Report and Literature Review

Bartosz Luks, Agnieszka Dworzyńska, Miłosz Dobrogowski, Lech Pomorski

(Clinical Department of General and Oncological Surgery, Medical University of Łódź, Łódź, Poland)

Am J Case Rep 2020; 21:e922599

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.922599


BACKGROUND: Intra-abdominal impalement injuries caused by a penetrating foreign body are rare and often fatal. The mechanism of injury is usually associated with vascular and organ damage, and the course is dynamic, with high morbidity and mortality. Post-traumatic presence of glass pieces in the peritoneal cavity after an old impalement injury is rare.
CASE REPORT: A 52-year-old woman sustained a 4-cm laceration in her lumbar region after falling on a glass table that shattered. After a physical examination and wound exploration in the emergency room, no foreign body was found. The laceration was sutured without X-ray imaging. She was admitted to the Surgical Department 9 months later for diagnosis of lower abdominal pain. In a CT scan of the abdominal cavity, a 19-cm fragment of glass was found intraperitoneally, inter-looped in the pelvic cavity. A laparotomy was performed, during which the foreign body was found and removed. No abdominal organs were injured. Further outpatient treatment was normal.
CONCLUSIONS: Potentially minor abdominal impalement injuries can cause serious organ damage. Every patient, even if asymptomatic, and even after trivial injury with a small skin wound, must be suspected of having a hidden foreign body. Accurate visual, manual, and instrumental wound exploration is always necessary. Imaging exams are an important diagnostic method when the presence of a post-traumatic foreign body is suspected.

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