A prickly situation: an attempted Caterpillar ingestion - case report

BACKGROUND Foreign body ingestion is a common problem in pediatrics. Each foreign body can present its' own unique challenges during removal, and we present the management of an ingested Spotted Tussock Moth (Lophocampa maculata), more commonly known as a caterpillar.
CASE PRESENTATION An 18-month-old boy presented to the emergency department with difficulty handling secretions and odynophagia. It was reported he had placed a caterpillar in his mouth and then spat it out. On examination, hundreds of miniscule filaments (setae) were seen embedded in his lips and tongue. Our service was consulted out of concern for airway involvement. The patient was taken to the operating room where a direct laryngoscopy under general anesthesia with spontaneous ventilation was performed to confirm the setae were confined to the anterior tongue and lips. Once we were satisfied the airway was stable, the airway was secured, and we then began to remove the setae. The initial method used was to use Adson-Brown forceps to remove the setae, however this proved difficult and time-consuming given the volume of setae and how thin the setae were. Ultimately, a more effective technique was developed: a 4 × 4 AMD-RITMES® gauze was applied to the mucosa in order to dry up any secretions and then a piece of pink, waterproof BSN medical® tape was applied to the mucosa. After 3 s of contact it was removed. This technique was then repeated and was used to remove the vast majority of the setae.
CONCLUSION To our knowledge, we have described the first technique to remove the caterpillar setae from the oral cavity mucosa in a fast, safe and efficient manner.

as reported in: J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2020 Sep 29; 49(1): 70