Stone foreign body

Millie presented with loss of appetite and vomiting. She doesn’t usually eat anything she shouldn’t; but she must have decided to try munching on a stone; just for the fun of it. Bad idea 🤦‍♀️

We assessed her bloods and took a survey radiograph. We could just immediately see a mineralised foreign body lodged in her small intestine. It was causing an obstruction, and so we took her to emergency surgery. We’re never quite sure what we’ll find; but we figured it was probably a stone..

Incising into intestine is risky. Even the best specialist human intestinal surgeon in the world have to bear some risk every time they perform intestinal surgeries on people. Once we cut the intestine, there’s a statistical risk of peritonitis and sepsis as a sequelae.

It’s so important to have a spotless theatre, sterilised equipment, the right clamps, the correct size suture material, excellent technique; lavage and flushing equipment, and a steady nerve. Our surgeons need to be gowned and gloved, and maintain strict sterility throughout.

We often change our gloves and instruments several times. Our patients need close monitoring by qualified nurses throughout their anaesthetic, careful pain management. We use infusion pumps to deliver calculated volumes of fluid, and specialised anaesthetic equipment and monitors. These surgeries aren’t for the faint hearted. All these things reduce the risks to our patients.


We found the big stone lodged in her small intestine, and it was obstructing her bowel. We removed it, and recovered Millie in hospital. We were thrilled to send her home yesterday. At her checkup today, her temperature is fine and so she’s most likely past the danger period for post operative complications. We’ll keep a close eye on her for a few days; but so far so good!