A Case of Mobile Phone Ingestion: Is Removal Possible?

International Journal of Surgery Case Reports

29-year-old swallows a Mobile Phone and ends up in the ER

A young male prisoner ended up in the Emergency Room after swallowing a mobile phone. He presented with the complaint of vomiting 2 hours after he had ingested the phone.

The doctors performed several investigations, which did not reveal any underlying cause. Moreover, he was clinically stable, despite the continuous vomiting. The possible reason for the cellphone ingestion may have been due to his psychological issues.

Mobile phone in the gastrointestinal tract

The doctors performed a Chest X-ray and Abdominal X-ray to visualize the phone’s location in the gastrointestinal tract. The radiographic examinations revealed that the phone was in the stomach.


The doctor’s first approach in management was to “wait-and-watch”. The doctors kept the patient under observation to see if the device passed out from the tract. However, 18 hours after the ingestion, it remained in the stomach. Therefore, the doctors used an endoscopic approach to remove the smartphone.

The doctors shifted him to the OT and did an upper GI endoscopy. However, they failed in removing the mobile phone because it would have damaged the patient’s organs.

Hence, they abandoned this approach. The doctors then performed surgery to get the foreign object out. Furthermore, they sent the mobile phone for forensic examination.

Post-op management

The doctors prescribed analgesia, antibiotics, and kept the patient nil per mouth for 3 days post-surgery. Additionally, the doctors gave him a complete psychiatric evaluation before they discharged him.


Foreign body ingestion is a common presentation around the world. Despite the prevalence of these cases, only 1% require surgery. Doctors manage most of these cases conservatively or with endoscopy. This case highlights that conservative management and endoscopy are not enough for the removal of foreign objects that are large. To reduce the need for surgery, it is important that specific procedures are devised for the removal of such foreign objects.


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