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Swallowed small piece of rib bone from chicken. What to do to be sure it doesn't perforate intestines?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
Answered : 8985 Questions
I just swallowed a small piece of rib bone from a chicken. It went down easily, but I can feel it. What should I do or watch for to be sure it doesn't perforate my intestines or otherwise get stuck?
Posted Sat, 12 Oct 2013 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Shoaib Khan 53 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Watchful waiting; symptoms listed below

Detailed Answer:
Hello and welcome.

Thank you for writing in.

A chicken or fish bone bwing accidentally swallowed is quite commonly encountered and more often than not does not cause any complications.

Your question is quite valid, but if indeed perforation does take place, it more commonly takes place in the oesophagus/food pipe and less commonly in the intestines, as the oesophagus is more narrow. Whereas, by the time the bone reaches the intestines, it would have mixed with faecal matter and usually passes without any trouble.

Symptoms to look out for are blood in saliva, blood in vomit, blood in stool, fever, generalized weakness, pain in throat or any part of abdomen. If you do not experience any of these symptoms in the next 48 hours, then the bone has successfully passed out of your system and you need not worry longer than that.

I hope you found my response helpful. Please feel free to write back to me for any further clarifications.

Best wishes.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Swallowed small piece of rib bone from chicken. What to do to be sure it doesn't perforate intestines? 5 hours later
Thank you. I actually drank a bottle of coca cola (something I never do) because I guessed that the soda would help break down the bone, since it's caustic enough to remove paint from a car. So far, so good and than you for your help!


Answered by Dr. Shoaib Khan 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
Rice and bananas also help

Detailed Answer:
Hello XXXXX.

Thats great. A few other remedies include eating bananas and rice which help in pushing the bone down, if it has lodged anywhere.

Anyway XXXXX, another 24-32 hours more to go and you should not have to worry about this. I wishing you all the best and am sure you shall be fine.

Best wishes.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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