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May 2011

Confirmation of Cutaneous Metallic Foreign Bodies With a Magnet

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Dermatology Section, Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine and Pharmacy, Rootstown (Ms Aldrich and Dr Brodell); Department of Dermatology, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio (Dr Brodell); and Department of Dermatology, University of Rochester School of Medicine, Rochester, New York (Dr Brodell).

Arch Dermatol. 2011;147(5):623-624. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2011.105

Puncture or impalement injuries can result in retained foreign bodies. Removal is warranted to prevent the foreign body from serving as a nidus for infection or producing a foreign-body granuloma. Unfortunately, identifying occult foreign bodies can be difficult. Ultrasonography, plain film radiographs, or metal detectors may be useful, depending on the composition of the material.1 In this case, we were able to confirm the presence of a metallic foreign body simply by applying a household magnet to the unbroken skin overlying a scar. This is an inexpensive way to identify superficial cutaneous metallic foreign bodies.

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