Surgeon 20101
A medical team at Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd Central Hospital carried out the operation. Image Credit: Fil

Abu Dhabi: A medical team at Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd Central Hospital successfully extracted a lithium battery from the esophagus of a child, through an advanced surgical procedure using flexible and rigid endoscopes, local media reported.

The child accidentally swallowed the coin-sized battery and suffered from severe chest pains. After conducting the necessary radiological examinations, it was found that there was a lithium battery in the chest, which the child had swallowed 24 hours before coming to the hospital. It settled inside the oesophagus, which required the medical team to perform an emergency surgery, in which the battery was extracted using the endoscope, the hospital said.

Doctors said if a child accidentally swallows a battery — of any size — it likely warrants a trip to the emergency room.

Those ubiquitous — and seemingly benign — lithium batteries can be toxic in tiny hands, they said.

That’s because the button-sized devices, if swallowed, could become lodged in the oesophagus and cause a potentially dangerous injury due to a chemical reaction between the oesophagus lining and the battery’s remaining current, a doctor said.

The result: a caustic burn whose severity can escalate just minutes after a battery enters the body. The longer you leave it in the oesophagus, the more damage there is,” the doctor said.

Doctors typically use an endoscope and a grasper tool to carefully remove the item, while the patient is under general anaesthesia. Depending on the situation, the procedure could be performed by a paediatric surgeon, gastroenterologist or otolaryngologist. Most cases require follow-up care and examination after discharge to ensure healing.