Foreign bodies in the esophagus can be removed in two wasy—either by endoscopy or externally through the neck or thorax. Most foreign bodies which lodge in the esophagus should be removed by esophagoscopy, but when, for any reason, that method cannot be used, the alternative is the external approach, described by Marschik,1 Schlemmer,2 Björk,3 Head,4 Phillips,5 Flett,6 and Huizinga.7 This procedure is extremely valuable, either for foreign bodies still in the upper half of the esophagus or for those which have perforated through the esophagus into the mediastinum.
For the past few years little has been written about the external approach. Apparently it has fallen into disrepute due to the frequency with which mediastinitis formerly accompanied the procedure. The operation can be safely done now, and, with antibiotics, produces gratifying results.
Report of Cases
To illustrate, on Dec. 25, 1950, I was called
BRUCE A. SANDERSON. Removal of Esophageal Foreign Bodies by the External Approach. AMA Arch Otolaryngol. 1957;66(3):305–306. doi:10.1001/archotol.1957.03830270063010