Oops! I Swallowed A Fish Bone…Now What?

Oops! I Swallowed A Fish Bone…Now What?


Dr Shamiel Mc


We live on this beautiful island in the Caribbean that affords us the luxury of eating freshly caught fish anytime we want. Unless you’re eating fish fillet (and even then that’s not a guarantee) you will encounter fish bones as you dine. What happens when you swallow a fish bone or, more importantly, what to do when it gets stuck? Physicians encounter this debacle quite often so keep calm, continue reading, and discover what to do if you find yourself in this predicament.



Swallowing a Foreign body


It doesn’t necessarily have to be a fishbone, it can be a chicken bone or anything else; the end result is still the same, something got stuck and is now causing pain. This can be worrisome to anyone who finds himself in this situation. The good news is that generally, most of the time, a bony foreign body scratches the surface as it passes down but still leaves you with the sensation that something is still there.


A foreign body lodged in the throat is not something you are likely to remove yourself nor should you try. Most foreign bodies (and unfortunately they tend to be tiny) typically lodge in the pouches found at the back of the throat that we doctors call the valeculla.


Home remedies, include drinking large volumes of water or eating bread in an effort to dislodge the foreign body, have been practiced for generations. If this does not work in removing or dislodging the foreign body you should consult a physician. If nothing is obviously seen but symptoms persist, it is recommended that a more extensive exam be conducted under anesthesia. The repercussions of having a foreign body stuck in the throat are far more serious than spending 20 minutes in the doctor’s office.


A retained foreign body can lead to inflammation and may, in a worst case scenario, lead to the formation of an abscess or punch a hole in the esophagus.


It is important to note that if it is suspected (observe that there does not have to be concrete evidence) that a foreign body is lodged in the throat of a child, go to the hospital immediately. Never try to dislodge the foreign body by yourself. Children must be evaluated under a controlled setting.


Now that you have some understanding on what to do if you find yourself in a similar situation remember to keep calm and follow the advice above. Enjoy the rest of the summer and all the fried/steamed/brown stewed fish you desire, just be careful. Until next time!