Background and Aims. Balloon-assisted enteroscopy (BAE) can be used to retrieve small intestinal foreign bodies (FBs). Here, we aimed at exploring the clinical usefulness of BAE for the retrieval of small intestinal FBs. Methods. We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 34 patients who underwent BAE to retrieve small intestinal FBs at 3 tertiary referral centers between April 2005 and June 2017. Results. The retained materials included capsule endoscopes (CEs; n=18 [52.9%]), self-expandable metal stents (SEMSs; n=5 [14.7%]), biliary drainage catheters (n=4 [11.8%]), gallstones (n=3 [8.8%]), an embolization coil (2.9%), a needle, an intragastric bariatric balloon, and a razor blade. FBs were located or stuck in the ileum (n=17 [50%]), jejunum (n=16 [47.1%]), and an undetermined small intestinal segment (n=1). Seventeen cases of FBs (50%; 7 CEs, 3 biliary drainage catheters, 3 SEMSs, 2 gallstones, 1 intragastric balloon, and 1 needle) were successfully retrieved enteroscopically. FBs of 4 asymptomatic patients (3 CEs and 1 razor blade) passed spontaneously. The remaining 13 patients underwent surgery for persistent or symptomatic FBs: 12 were successfully removed and 1 CE removal procedure failed due to severe peritoneal adhesions. The presence of symptoms was the only independent predictor of successful retrieval using BAE (odds ratio 13.40, 95% confidence interval 1.10-162.56, P=0.042). BAE-related complications such as bowel perforation and acute pancreatitis occurred in 2 patients (5.9%). Conclusions. BAE can be the first option for FB removal in the small intestine. The presence of symptoms was associated with successful enteroscopic retrieval.
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