Orthopaedic surgeons often remove foreign bodies from the extremities. If the foreign body is
radio-opaque, it can be located using conventional radiographs or fluoroscopy. However if the
foreign body is a radiolucent object, it may not be detected by radiograph leading to serious
complications. The aim of this paper is to discuss the role of US in detection of non radioopaque
foreign body in addition to the presentation and nature of the foreign body.
Twenty patients with penetrating injuries to the extremities were treated from January-
December 2008 at Samawa General Hospital. They were 11 male and 9 female, their ages
ranged between 4 to 50 years (average 22.7). All patients were evaluated by detailed history,
clinical examination, radiography and US which were done at the department of radiology in
Samawa General Hospital.
The lower limb was affected in 14 cases (70%) while the upper limb in 6 cases (30%).
presenting symptoms were; pain (16 cases) followed by swelling (3 cases), limping and
discharging sinus (one case). No foreign bodies were detected by radiography in this study. On
the other hand, US detect and localize foreign body in each case. Fifteen patients had history of
failed previous interventions for removing foreign bodies.
In conclusion, Non radio-opaque foreign bodies are common in children and adults most often
presenting as penetrating injury to the extremities. Failure to remove it may lead to serious
complications and malpractice lawsuits. US has emerged as the study of choice for detection of
radiolucent foreign bodies.