In most instances in which indigestible foreign bodies are swallowed, the objects will pass uneventfully through the entire intestinal tract of either children or adults. The possibility of ulcerative penetration by sharp, elongated or pointed objects in the intestinal tract, however, necessitates careful and continued observation in every case. So long as the intruder keeps moving downward, there is little danger.
The occurrence of perforation of the intestine from ingested foreign bodies is not common. In a series of 800 cases reported from the Boston City Hospital, perforation occurred in only 1 per cent.1 Not a single instance of perforation occurred in a group of 41 children of pediatric age who had swallowed foreign bodies of different types, and in every child the object was passed spontaneously.2 It has been concluded from another series of 386 cases that 90 per cent of swallowed foreign bodies will pass spontaneously.