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Plain radiography may underestimate the burden of body packer ingestion: A case report

      Highlights

      • Body packing refers to the intracorporeal concealment of illicit drugs.
      • The sensitivity of abdominal radiography for detection of body packing is 47–95%.
      • The contraband market continues to evolve methods to evade radiographic detection.
      • Plain radiography can grossly underestimate the burden of ingestion.

      Abstract

      Body packing refers to the intracorporeal concealment of illicit drugs. Here we report the case of a 55-year-old body packer who presented with palpitations, visual hallucinations, and a sense of impending death. Abdominal radiography demonstrated five ovoid foreign bodies overlying the rectum. At subsequent gastrotomy and cecotomy, thirty-eight cocaine-containing packets were retrieved from the stomach and ascending colon as well as from the rectum. As the contraband market evolves new techniques to evade detection, evaluation of the burden of body packer ingestion has become increasingly challenging. As demonstrated in this case, plain radiography can grossly underestimate the burden of ingestion.

      Keywords

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