Clin Surg | Volume 2, Issue 1 | Research Article | Open Access

Incidental Ingestion of Rare-Earth Magnet Toys: A Disappearing Complication

Behrouz Banieghbal and Natasha Fourie*

Department of Pediatric Surgery, Tygerberg Hospital, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa

*Correspondance to: Natasha Fourie 

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Purpose: Newly released toys made of small but powerful magnets, made of Rare-Earth Magnets (REM), could easily be obtained in South Africa. This is done through online internet shops as well as a number of retail shops. There is a small-print warning about ingestion hazards. However, in practice, accidental ingestion of multiple magnets can result in significant gut injuries.Material: Over a 6 years period (July 2009- August 2015), 8 children with REM ingestions were seen. Seven requiring operative intervention.Result: Laparotomy in all cases required disconnection and over-sewing of intra-luminal intestinal fistulae/perforations. No morbidity or mortality was noted in this cohort. One patient who ingested a single magnet was treated non-operatively.Conclusion: Ingestion of more than one REM-made toy is dangerous and there is increasing regulation to ban these new magnetic toys.


Magnets; Intestinal fistula; Rare-Earth Alloys; Bowel obstruction; Laparoscopy


Banieghbal B, Fourie N. Incidental Ingestion of Rare-Earth Magnet Toys: A Disappearing Complication. Clin Surg. 2017; 2: 1706.

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