Accidental Magnet Ingestion in A Toddler: A Diagnostic Dilemma


  • Benjamin Wei Liang Ng Department of Paediatrics, Sibu Hospital, Sibu, Sarawak, Malaysia
  • Wei Keong Ooi Department of Surgery, Sibu Hospital, Sibu, Sarawak, Malaysia
  • Prahalad Ramanathan Department of Diagnostic Imaging, Sibu Hospital , Sibu, Sarawak, Malaysia
  • Teck Hock Toh Clinical Research Centre, Sibu Hospital, Sibu, Sarawak, Malaysia.



Magnet, foreign body, accidental ingestion, bowel obstruction, children


Foreign body ingestion is common in children. Ingestion of foreign bodies with magnetic properties are less common, but can be associated with more severe complication, especially involving multiple magnets. We present a 16-month-old boy with developmental delay who developed small bowel perforation following multiple magnet ingestion.  He had three days history of vomiting and abdominal distension associated with pain, suggestive of an acute intestinal obstruction. Abdominal imaging confirmed foreign body ingestion, and an exploratory laparotomy revealed two magnets attracted across the intestinal lining with resultant intestinal obstruction and perforation. Surgical removal of the magnets and the necrotic bowel tissue was complicated by post-operative wound dehiscence. After secondary suturing, the child subsequently made a complete recovery. We discuss the diagnostic dilemma in multiple magnet ingestion along with the importance of early recognition and prompt management due to the risk of more severe gastrointestinal complication associated with delayed intervention.


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How to Cite

Ng, B. W. L., Ooi, W. K., Ramanathan, P., & Toh, T. H. (2021). Accidental Magnet Ingestion in A Toddler: A Diagnostic Dilemma. Malaysian Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 27(1), 37-41.



Case Report