Swallowed wishbone

Case contributed by A.Prof Frank Gaillard


Sudden onset of thoracic inlet pain and cough at dinner.

Patient Data

Age: 65 years
Gender: Female

Neck x-ray

Frontal projection is unhelpful, although it does not demonstrate any soft tissue gas to suggest perforation. The lateral projection demonstrates an abnormal calcified focus behind the cricoid cartilage. 


Annotated x-ray

A number of calcific opacities are visible on the lateral x-ray, but only one is of interest. 

  • swallowed wishbone: red arrow
  • calcified carotid atherosclerosis: blue arrow
  • inferior horn of the thyroid cartilage: pink arrow
  • posterior arch of the cricoid cartilage: yellow arrow

CT neck & chest

CT of the thoracic inlet confirms the presence of a Y-shaped calcified object in the esophagus. There is no evidence of perforation. 

Case Discussion

Some people really don't chew their food do they... 

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Case information

rID: 15030
Published: 15th Sep 2011
Last edited: 16th Jul 2018
System: Chest
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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