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Foreign Body Removal

Entrust the removal of a piece of glass, splinters, and foreign objects to the medical experts. Discover the importance of removing foreign bodies, the potential harm they can cause when left untreated, and find out how WellNow can assist you.

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What is a foreign body removal?

Foreign bodies are unwanted objects that enter the body from the external environment. Examples include wood splinters, metal fragments, graphite particles and various other materials. When foreign bodies penetrate or lodge into the skin, eyes, ears or other body parts, they can cause discomfort, pain, infection and even serious complications. Safe removal is crucial to prevent further damage and promote healing.

How will a WellNow medical provider remove a foreign body and treat any associated injuries?

In non-emergency situations, our healthcare providers can help with:

  • Removing splinters and foreign objects, including those deeply embedded in the skin and muscle

  • Treating eye injuries and removing objects from the eye

  • Safely removing foreign objects from the ears and nose

  • Providing bandages, antibiotics, tetanus shots and other care as needed

How do foreign bodies enter your body?

Objects can enter your body through various means, including injuries, accidents, inhalation or ingestion. It’s common for young children to get a foreign body stuck when they put objects in their mouth, ears or nose.

What happens if you don't have a foreign body removed?

Leaving a foreign body untreated can lead to infections, tissue damage and, in some cases, more severe complications. Inhaled or swallowed foreign bodies may cause choking or bowel obstruction. Foreign bodies in the eyes can cause corneal abrasions and vision changes.

Foreign Body Removal FAQs

Common foreign bodies requiring removal include splinters, glass shards, metal fragments and objects lodged in the ears, eyes or nose. In children, these are most often plastic toys or beads.

See a medical provider for foreign body removal if:

  • You’re unable to easily remove the foreign object yourself

  • The object is embedded deeply in your skin or muscle

  • The object is at risk of being pushed deeper into the body by your attempts to remove it

  • A foreign object is embedded in an eye or close to an eye

  • The wound is dirty or deep

  • You’re not up to date on your tetanus vaccinations

Not always. Many foreign bodies can be removed through non-surgical methods, depending on the location and nature of the object.

Providers have many specialized tools to make it easier and safer to remove a foreign body from the eye. Methods can include using fluorescein eye drops to make the foreign body easier to see. Anesthetic eye drops may be used to numb the eye and reduce involuntary movements while your physician examines the eye and removes the object.

Your provider may use a cotton swab, saline solution or specialized instruments to remove the object. If the foreign body is embedded deep in the eye, a minor surgery may be needed to remove it safely.

Ear foreign body removal involves techniques such as irrigation, suction or the use of modified forceps or other specialized instruments. These methods should only be used by a trained medical professional.

Nasal foreign bodies may be removed using instruments, suction or, in some cases, flushing with saline solution.

When should you visit urgent care for foreign body removal and treatment?

If you experience a foreign body entry, seek prompt professional care. Check in online or walk in to a WellNow location nearest you.

This medical information has been reviewed for accuracy by Dr. Robert Biernbaum, Chief Medical Officer for WellNow Urgent Care.

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Injuries We Treat

WellNow Urgent Care can help when you or a family member is hurt. Our dedicated medical team will provide prompt, comprehensive and compassionate care to help you get better, faster.

This list contains are most frequently treated injuries. If you are experiencing pain from an injury not listed or are unsure of the source of your discomfort, visit a WellNow Urgent Care clinic near you or start a virtual care session.

A - F

Abrasions (Scrapes)
Abscesses and Cysts
Animal Bites
Cuts and Lacerations
Foreign Body Removal