Magnetic snakes subsonic
Images in Clinical Medicine

Magnetic snakes subsonic

Wen-Xiang Zhu1,2, Wei Liu1,2

1Department of Gastroenterology, Yichang Central People’s Hospital, Yichang 443000, China;2Institute of Digestive Disease, China Three Gorges University, Yichang 443000, China

Correspondence to: Wei Liu, PhD. Institute of Digestive Disease, China Three Gorges University, 8 Daxue Road, Yichang 443000, China. Email:

Received: 26 January 2020; Accepted: 12 February 2020; Published: 25 December 2020.

doi: 10.21037/amj.2020.03.01

A 7-year-old boy presented to the emergency department after he had ingested magnetic buckyballs. He had not vomited and had no pain in his abdomen. A physical examination was unremarkable. A radiograph of the abdomen confirmed a snake-shaped foreign body in the left upper quadrant (Figure 1A,B). Ingestions of magnets are commonly reported in children 5 to 10 years of age (1). Ingested magnets that warrant immediate endoscopic removal from the stomach lead to magnet-related injuries by their powerful attractive forces (2). Asymptomatic children who have ingested the single magnet may be observed without intervention to allow the foreign body to pass spontaneously (3,4). When 2 or more magnets have been ingested, prompt evaluation, imaging, and consultation with gastroenterology colleagues are warranted (5). In this patient, radiographs of the stomach revealed the large number of buckyballs. The patient was taken to the operating room to undergo rigid endoscopy, and the “Magnetic snake subsonic” made up of 140 buckyballs was removed (Figure 1C,D). Reinspection of the stomach showed minor abrasions of the gastric mucosa. After the procedure, the patient recovered well and was discharged home.

Figure 1 Magnetic snakes subsonic. (A) Orthotopic chest radiograph; (B) lateral chest radiograph; (C) gastroscopy; (D) foreign body in stomach.


Funding: This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (31600134).


Conflicts of Interest: Both authors have completed the ICMJE uniform disclosure form (available at The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Ethical Statement: The authors are accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee(s) and with the Helsinki Declaration (as revised in 2013). Written informed consent was obtained from the patient for publication of this “Images in Clinical Medicine”.

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doi: 10.21037/amj.2020.03.01
Cite this article as: Zhu WX, Liu W. Magnetic snakes subsonic. AME Med J 2020;5:44.