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Foreign body in arm

Case contributed by Maulik S Patel
Diagnosis almost certain


A few days prior to the presentation, the patient had a penetrating injury due to a metal particle into the left arm. Presented with a complaint of local pain.

Patient Data

Age: 35 years
Gender: Male

There is a small metal-density foreign body projected in the arm soft tissue. It is lateral to the mid-shaft of the left humerus. There is no fracture/ dislocation/ periosteal reaction.


There is an echogenic focus (1.5 mm) abutting muscle. Color doppler study shows a twinkling artifact deep to the foreign body. There is no abscess/ granuloma formation.

Case Discussion

Appearances on the X-ray and ultrasound are of a metallic foreign body within the soft tissue of the upper arm following a penetrating injury.

X-ray easily detected metal foreign body. It may be difficult to localize such a small soft tissue foreign body using gray-scale ultrasound. Color doppler twinkling artifact can be more helpful to localize it.

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