Penetrating foreign bodies

Published on 01/04/2015 by admin

Filed under Radiology

Last modified 01/04/2015

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Penetrating foreign bodies

Alternative imaging to consider

Orbital foreign bodies

Regularly overlooked foreign bodies

Appearances on plain radiographs


All glass is radio-opaque. Visibility of glass is not dependent on its lead content1,2.

The radiographic density of the different types of glass does vary. Imaging technique is important. A soft tissue exposure is essential.

Zooming on a digital image is often necessary, otherwise very small fragments are easily overlooked.


Most metals are radio-opaque. A notable exception is aluminium.

Wood or plastic

Only occasionally will wood be visualised35. A splinter might be well defined on a radiograph if the fragment has paint on its surface.

Why is wood almost non-opaque on a radiograph?

In clinical practice it is best to assume that all splinters, thorns, and fragments of plastic will be non-opaque on a radiograph.

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