To describe the radiological findings that may be observed when imaging body packers. To identify the radiological signs of ingested drug packets and to familiarize with the new packaging techniques.
Body packing is defined as the trafficking of illicit drugs within the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract). Daily,
illegal drugs are imported through major ports of entry in many countries. In recent years,
we have observed in the emergency room an increasing number of cases in which there is suspicion of body packers,
probably due to an increase in international traffic of drugs and/or intensification of security measures at airports. The body packer is a person who is a carries...
Imaging findings OR Procedure details
Plain abdominal X-ray film is the most common radiological method for investigating suspected body packers.
It is an easy,
quick and widely available test,
with varying but high accuracy for the detection of drug-filled packets. On a plain abdominal radiograph the packets are usually detected as multiple,
well defined homogenous spherical or cylindrical,
but one of the most important signs is a thin,
lucent rim of air with a spherical or cylindrical pattern.
Drugs are being smuggled all over the world and the methods employed by the traffickers continue to increase in creativity,
and ingenuity. The radiologist must recognize all signs of ingested drug packets and be aware of their legal responsibilities when interpreting examinations of suspected smugglers.
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Diagnostic Radiographic Findings in Body Packers: A study of 15 Cases in...