Glass foreign bodies may be present if they are ingested, inserted, or as a result of an injury. All glass is radiopaque 7.
The prevalence of glass foreign bodies in wounds from injury has been recorded at a rate of 1.5% in superficial (subcutaneous) wounds and 7.5% of deeper wounds 1.
Only ~10% of x-rays ordered for investigation of retained foreign bodies are positive (reflecting the low incidence post-injury), but x-rays are excellent at detecting radiopaque foreign bodies with ~85% being detected 6:
- glass is always radiopaque, independent of lead content or other additives 7
- should be visible on plain films if larger than 2 mm 2,5
- can be used to localize foreign bodies further and define the relationship with soft tissue structures and assess for further injuries
- appears hyperechoic with posterior shadowing and often demonstrates reverberation artifact
- if present for >24 hours may demonstrate a hypoechoic ring 3,4
- 1. Orlinsky M, Bright AA. The utility of routine x-rays in all glass-caused wounds. Am J Emerg Med. 2006;24 (2): 233-6. doi:10.1016/j.ajem.2005.06.008 - Pubmed citation
- 2. Hunter T, Taljanovic M. Radiographics. 2003;23 (3): . doi:10.1148/rg.233025137
- 3. Boyse TD, Fessell DP, Jacobson JA et-al. US of soft-tissue foreign bodies and associated complications with surgical correlation. Radiographics. 2001;21 (5): 1251-6. Pubmed citation
- 4. Horton LK, Jacobson JA, Powell A et-al. Sonography and radiography of soft-tissue foreign bodies. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2001;176 (5): 1155-9. doi:10.2214/ajr.176.5.1761155 - Pubmed citation
- 5. Halaas GW. Management of foreign bodies in the skin. Am Fam Physician. 2007;76 (5): 683-8. Pubmed citation
- 6. Cambridge textbook of accident and emergency medicine. Cambridge University Press. ISBN:0521433797. Read it at Google Books - Find it at Amazon
- 7. Klein KA, Hobbs BB. Radiopacity of glass: does the lead content matter?. (1995) CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association journal = journal de l'Association medicale canadienne. 153 (9): 1224. Pubmed