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Case report
Lockdown dilemma: ingestion of magnetic beads presenting as right iliac fossa pain and subacute small bowel obstruction
  1. Bankole Oyewole,
  2. Anu Sandhya,
  3. Ian Maheswaran and
  4. Timothy Campbell-Smith
  1. General Surgery, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, Redhill, UK
  1. Correspondence to Bankole Oyewole; bankole.oyewole{at}


A 13-year-old girl presented with a 3-day history of migratory right iliac fossa pain. Observations and inflammatory markers were normal, and an ultrasound scan was inconclusive. A provisional diagnosis of non-specific abdominal pain or early appendicitis was made, and she was discharged with safety netting advice. She presented again 6 days later with ongoing abdominal pain now associated with multiple episodes of vomiting; hence, the decision was made to proceed to diagnostic laparoscopy rather than a magnetic resonance scan for further assessment. Intraoperative findings revealed 200 mL of serous fluid in the pelvis, normal-looking appendix, dilated stomach and a tangle of small bowel loops. Blunt and careful dissection revealed fistulous tracts that magnetised the laparoscopic instruments. A minilaparotomy was performed with the extraction of 14 magnetic beads and the repair of nine enterotomies. This case highlights the importance of careful history taking in children presenting with acute abdominal pain of doubtful aetiology.

  • small intestine
  • paediatrics
  • radiology
  • gastrointestinal surgery
  • paediatric surgery

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  • Contributors BO: Conception and design, acquisition of data, literature review, manuscript drafting, final reporting and submission. AS: Conception and design, revising the data and case. IM: Supervision, manuscript revision, analysis and interpretation of the case and treatment. TC-S: Supervision, manuscript revision, analysis and interpretation of the case and treatment.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Parental/guardian consent obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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