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Afr J Med Med Sci. 2004 Sep;33(3):225-8.

Nasal foreign bodies in the African children.

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  • 1Department of Otorhinolaryngology, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria.


Nasal foreign bodies are very common in daily clinical practice. Their simplicity in pathology and diagnosis often gives the wrong impression of little or no risk of complications. A 5-year (1998 - 2002) prospective study of 106 patients with nasal foreign bodies was done to evaluate and present the patterns, possible challenges and complications or problems in the management of this condition in the Nigerian Africans. The male to female ratio was 1:1.26 (M 47; F 59) and with an average age of 3 years. The duration of symptoms ranged from degrees hour to 4 years with 74 (69.8%) presenting within 24 hours and 27 (25.5%) presenting after 24 hours. The most common nasal foreign bodies were seeds 34 (32.1%), polyurethane foams 12 (11.3%), stones 11 (10.4%), plastic 10 (9.4%), beads 6 (5.7%) and erasers 6 (5.7%). The objects were found in the right nasal cavity in 63 (59.4%) cases while 43 (40.6%) in the left nasal cavity. The various clinical presentations were history of insertion of foreign bodies 91 (85.8%), 15(14.2%) with no history of insertion, mucopurulent nasal discharge 25 (23.6%), foul nasal odour 10 (9.4%), epistaxis 6 (5.7%), nasal obstruction and mouth breathing 3 (2.8%) and 2 (1.9%) cases respectively. The main complications were nasal infections (23.6%), epistaxis (5.7%), and purulent maxillary sinusitis (1.9%) seen in this study. These are preventable complications if the patients present early to the hospital. The absence of enough E.N.T. specialists however still plagues developing countries like Nigeria. A call is therefore made for more specialists in this area for early detections and care of these cases.

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