Image of the Week: 3D reconstruction of cocaine in a smuggler’s abdomen


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This image represents a 3D reconstruction of an abdominal computed tomography (CT) scan taken of a cocaine smuggler who presented to the emergency room with absent defecation for two days. X-ray revealed numerous packets of cocaine. CT scan was performed to exclude perforation of the gastrointestinal tract and to count the packets (63 in total) in case the patient would need manual removal by emergency operation. Successful evacuation was achieved using laxatives.

Patients with cocaine packets in their body can be asymptomatic or may present with symptoms related to complications such as bowel obstruction, perforation, or packet rupture. The majority of patients are treated conservatively using laxatives. In complex or symptomatic cases, surgical intervention may be required.

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