Last week, I talked about the use of Rare Earth Magnets for removing metallic foreign bodies. Sometimes a straight magnet though isn’t quite strong enough to grab a metallic foreign body. If only you had a small magnetic hemostat.

This week Dr. Catherine Perry (Culpepper Memorial Hospital) and Dr. Kolapo DaSilva (PGY-2 at UVA) emailed me with a creative solution. They encountered a patient with a BB pellet lodged deeply in the soft tissue. Small mosquito clamps couldn’t get around the BB. A cardiac magnet alone caused the BB to tent the skin up.

Trick of the Trade: Metallic FB removal

Use a cardiac magnet to magnetize a hemostat

Almost all ED’s have strong cardiac magnets to troubleshoot pacemakers. Use a cardiac magnet and touch a hemostat. This temporarily magnetizes the hemostat, which can more easily reach the BB and pull it out. The added bonus is that the hemostat can also grip the foreign body for extra hold.

See the result!

Michelle Lin, MD
ALiEM Founder and CEO
Professor and Digital Innovation Lab Director
Department of Emergency Medicine
University of California, San Francisco
Michelle Lin, MD


Professor of Emerg Med at UCSF-Zuckerberg SF General. ALiEM Founder @aliemteam #PostitPearls at Bio:
Michelle Lin, MD