Magnetic tongue stud warning

tongue If swallowed, magnets can trap parts of the intestine and lead to perforation

Related Stories

Young people are being warned about the dangers of magnetic tongue studs, after reports of serious medical emergencies.

The head teacher of a school in Manchester has sent out an alert to parents and spoken to pupils.

The studs give the wearer the look of a tongue piercing but without a hole.

If accidentally swallowed, the magnets - designed to be worn either side of the tongue - can stick together, trapping parts of the intestine and leading to perforation of the bowel.

While magnetic facial studs can be bought online, schoolchildren are thought to be fashioning their own tongue versions using magnetic earrings and ball bearings from toy puzzles.

In his letter to parents, head teacher Kevin Hogan from St Matthew's Roman Catholic High School said: "We have spoken to all pupils about this matter and warned them of the potentially harmful consequences of swallowing these magnets.

"If your child has accidentally swallowed one or more of these balls you should seek medical advice immediately."

Dr Anil Thomas George and Dr Sandeep Motiwale, of Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham, wrote a letter to medical journal the Lancet, asking doctors to advise parents of the dangers.

They said two young children in the East Midlands had been admitted to hospital for surgery to remove magnets that had been swallowed.

They wrote: "Parents need to be alerted to the potential risk of silent bowel perforation and fistulation from accidental ingestion of magnets in children.

"Accidental ingestion of magnetic foreign bodies, which was once rare, has become more common owing to the increasing availability of toys with magnetic elements.

"A solitary ingested magnet can pass through the gut spontaneously. However, ingestion of multiple magnets or a single magnet along with another metallic part can cause them to stick to each other with forces of up to 1,300G [gauss], compressing the intervening bowel and leading to subsequent fistulation and perforation."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Health stories


Features & Analysis

  • Three santa hatsChristmas again

    The town where it's celebrated three times a year

  • Anastasia Romanovna KrandievskayaShips in the night

    The Russian beauty who rebuffed a British writer as chaos loomed

  • The house where Hitler was bornHouse of Hitler

    Vacant birthplace of Nazi leader gives Austria a headache

  • Uber app and Taxi rankUber wars

    Battles over cheap taxis and other big ideas from 2014

BBC Future


Why boredom is good for you

The unexpected benefit of tedium


  • Stephen Sackur with Status Quo's Francis RossiHARDtalk Watch

    Watch extracts of some of Stephen Sackur's best interviews from 2014

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.