Management of complicated gastric bezoars in children and adolescents

Shannon L. Castle, Osnat Zmora*, Stephanie Papillon, Dan Levin, James E. Stein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: Gastric bezoars in children are infrequent. Most are trichobezoars. Surgical intervention is sometimes necessary. Objectives: To describe the clinical findings and radiological workup, as well as treatment and outcome of patients with complicated gastric bezoars who underwent surgery in our institution. Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of all cases of surgery for gastric bezoars performed in our institution between 2000 and 2010. Data collected included gender and age of the patients, composition and extent of the bezoar, presenting signs and symptoms, imaging studies used, performance of endoscopy, and surgical approach. Outcome was measured by the presence of postoperative complications. Results: We identified seven patients with gastric bezoars who underwent surgery. All were females aged 4–19 years. Six had trichobezoars and one had a mass composed of latex gloves. Presenting symptoms included abdominal pain, vomiting, weight loss, and halitosis. All patients had a palpable epigastric mass. A large variety of imaging modalities was used. Endoscopic removal was attempted in three patients and the laparoscopic approach in one patient, but both routes failed. All patients eventually underwent laparotomy with gastrotomy and recovered without complications. Conclusions: The presence of gastric bezoars should be suspected in any child with unexplained abdominal pain, vomiting, weight loss, or halitosis, or with a palpable abdominal mass, especially in girls. A variety of imaging modalities can aid in diagnosis. Endoscopic removal might be attempted, although failure of this approach is frequent, necessitating surgical intervention, preferably laparotomy and gastrotomy, which has an excellent outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-544
Number of pages4
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Abdominal pain
  • Epigastric mass
  • Gastric bezoars
  • Trichobezoars
  • Trichophagia
  • Trichotillomania


Dive into the research topics of 'Management of complicated gastric bezoars in children and adolescents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this