Fecal impaction in children: report of 53 cases of rectal seed bezoars

Arie Eitan, Israel M. Katz, Yechiel Sweed, Amitai Bickel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: Rectal seed bezoars in children seem to present an uncommon problem that necessitates some operative intervention. Purpose: Our objective is to determine the occurrence and clinical characteristics of rectal seed bezoars in children with fecal impaction. Methods: A retrospective review of hospital records of children with discharge diagnosis of fecal impaction was conducted from 1996 to 2005 in a university-affiliated general hospital. Results: The study group is composed 59 children. A total of 53 had rectal seed bezoars: watermelon seeds in 43 children, prickly pear seeds in 6, sunflower seeds in 3, and pumpkinseeds in 1. Six children had seedless fecal impaction. All the children with seed bezoars were of Arab origin. Fifty children were treated under general anesthesia. Of the remaining 9 children, 5 underwent digital disimpaction without general anesthesia: 3 with seedless feces and 2 with rectal seed bezoars. Four children with rectal seed bezoars evacuated spontaneously without digital disimpaction. There was summer seasonal preference for watermelon and prickly pear seed bezoars, whereas sunflower seed bezoars occurred in the spring. Conclusions: Fecal impaction owing to rectal seed bezoars is more common than previously believed. Its occurrence among Arab children alone in this study might indicate a high proportion of fecal seed bezoars throughout the Middle East. We propose that the preferred treatment should include disimpaction and irrigation of the rectal content under anesthesia. Greater awareness by primary care practitioners and parents might be beneficial in its prevention in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1114-1117
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Fecal impaction
  • Prickly pear
  • Rectal bezoar
  • Seeds
  • Sunflower
  • Watermelon


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