BMJ Case Reports 2011; doi:10.1136/bcr.02.2011.3869
  • Unusual association of diseases/symptoms

Plastic bag clip discovered in partial colectomy accompanying proposal for phylogenic plastic bag clip classification

  1. Robert Kvalstad4
  1. 1Western Dermatopathology Department, Central Coast Pathology, San Luis Obispo, California, USA
  2. 2HotHouse Productions, Berkeley, California, USA
  3. 3Associated Surgeons, San Luis Obispo, California, USA
  4. 4Arroyo Grande Community Hospital, Arroyo Grande, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr. Bruce D Ragsdale, bragsdale{at}


A plastic bag clip was incidentally found anchored in the mucosa of a partial colectomy specimen 2.6 cm proximal to a ruptured diverticulum for which the patient, a mentally retarded, diabetic, 58-year-old man, underwent surgery. Over 20 cases of accidental ingestion of plastic bag clips have been published. Known complications include small bowel perforation, obstruction, dysphagia, gastrointestinal bleeding and colonic impaction. Preoperative diagnosis of plastic clips lodged in the gastrointestinal tract is frustrated due to radiographic translucency. This occult threat could likely be prevented by the design of gastrointestinally safe, plastic-bag-sealing devices. Presented here is a morphologically based classification of bag clips as a possible guide for determining the most hazardous varieties and to aid further discussions of their impact on health.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

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