Drug pellets (body packing)

Case contributed by Dr Sovann Vathana Lay

Presentation

A traveller arrested at the airport for carrying a powder substance, which later tested negative for drug. Referred to CT for further investigation.

Patient Data

Age: Adult
Gender: Male
X-ray

X-ray (From CT scout images)

Frontal and lateral scout images show multiple oval opacities throughout the abdomen.

CT

Non contrast-enhanced CT of the whole abdomen was done

Non contrast-enhanced of the whole abdomen was performed (without any oral contrast).

There are multiple intra luminal smooth, well-circumscribed, highly-attenuated (259UH) oval foreign bodies, uniform in size, scattered throughout loops of large bowel.

Surprisingly, the subject had quite a long sigmoid loop extending toward the right flank and a distended loop of transverse colon.

Drug pellets were the most likely diagnosis.

Photo

The subject was ordered to take laxative and the drug was proven to be cocaine.

Case Discussion

Body packing is one of the many methods employed by drug traffickers to smuggle illegal drugs through customs. Radiography or CT are used in many countries to screen suspected individuals. 

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Case information

rID: 47091
Case created: 31st Jul 2016
Last edited: 15th Oct 2016
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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