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Finding that the localization of metallic foreign bodies, particularly broken needles and pins, was a difficult procedure at times, I designed the electrical localizer here described and had it made by George P. Pilling & Son Company, Philadelphia. By its use a small incision may be made, causing less deformity and contraction than results in large exploratory incisions of the palm. Blood vessels and tendons are avoided and a minimum of trauma is performed.
When using small incisions and probing or using a small hook for localizing a foreign body, I have often felt what appeared to be the needle sought, only to find on bringing it to view that it was fibrous tissue, a tendon or a nerve. Accordingly, an instrument was developed that would register only when in contact with metal (fig. 1). In this instrument, known as an electrical foreign body localizer, a small electric bulb lights in a window
Wright VWM. LOCALIZATION OF METALLIC FOREIGN BODIES BY ELECTRICAL MEANS. JAMA. 1928;90(11):848-849. doi:10.1001/jama.1928.92690380004012d