NCBI ROFL: An unusual finding during screening colonoscopy: a cockroach!

By ncbi rofl | January 3, 2011 7:00 pm

It’s insect week on NCBI ROFL!  All week long we’ll be featuring the funniest scientific papers about our favorite creepy crawlies.  Enjoy!

“A 52-year-old woman with a history of depression was referred by her primary physician for colorectal cancer screening. She had no family history of colorectal cancer and a review of systems was positive for abdominal bloating. Bowel preparation was done using 4 L of polyethylene glycol the evening prior to screening colonoscopy. The procedure was uncomplicated with no gross mucosal pathology, however, an insect was found in the transverse colon (Fig. 1, to the left), was found in the transverse colon on a routine screening colonoscopy.). The insect was aspirated and sent to the lab for further identification. The insect had three body segments (head, thorax, and abdomen) with ventrodorsal flattening of the body and a segmented abdomen, three pairs of legs extending from the thorax (with spikes and claw-like terminal appendages), elongated hind legs, and a pair of elongated antennae extending from the head to beyond the hind legs.These morphologic findings were most consistent with the nymph form of Blattella germanica (German cockroach) of the Blattellidae family, a common household pest. The patient had a cockroach infestation at home and hence it was hypothesized that she may have inadvertently ingested a cockroach with food.”

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  • Matt T.

    Would that have exited properly, or should I chew my cockroaches from now on?

  • Aquifex

    That is utterly disgusting!

  • anonymous

    That’s a bunch of BS! Any insect ingested with food would also be digested with the food by the stomach acids and such. Otherwise ingested insects would be passed by native tribal people and certain Travel Channel TV Personalities still intact. It’s also in too good of condition to have “crawled” up there as the steady contracting motion of the intestine would have damaged the insect. The only way that could have gotten in there, would have been from an unsanitary environment at the facility where the screening was done. It most likely was attached to the equipment upon insertion and fell off during the procedure and was captured on the camera. This facility needs to be inspected and possibly shut down.

    • Mark Schüler

      she must have put it there..

  • Matt B.

    ROFV: Rolling on floor, vomiting.

  • bug_girl

    I agree with commenter #3; a roach that went through the digestive tract would not look that good. It probably came from the equipment, or was introduced in the colon prep.

  • hah

    so fake.

  • lindLTaylor

    I have been in the imaging business for a long time and have been in many hundreds of procedures for upper gastro, lower endoscopy , ERCP and EUS. In my opinion this is fake. At least the picture is. 1- if she had ingested it with food it would have been chewed up. 2- if she ingested it with food it would have been eliminated with the bowel preparation especially given the apparent excellent bowel prep in the photo but that does not matter because 3- that is is not a picture of the mucosa, it is the lining of the stomach 4- endoscopes for colon produce pictures that resemble putting a photo lens in tube, unless this is the largest colon on the planet or the MD used a ridiculous amount of insuflation 5- the field of view on any colon scope could never produce a picture that looked like this – they are very close up – you could never capture an entire roach from that far away. Also the colon only extends forward about 2-3 inches before you would see folds or turns. The story may have some truth to it but I am 99.9% confident that the picture is not authentic. Looks more like somone who swallowed a roach shortly before an upper gastro procedure. Even so the characteristics of the photo do not match any equipment I have ever worked with.

  • mark

    5. bug_girl Says:
    It probably came from the equipment, or was introduced in the colon prep.


    yeah – or photoshop — heck – i can put ladybugs in your heart! or butterflies in your stomach!

  • Fremont

    She is just like Cousin Dell from the movie Wild at Heart.

  • marie

    I work in an endoscopy unit, and I have seen funny things up the chuff, but i get the feeling this may be a hoax. One time we saw antennae of king prawn heads that weren’t properly chewed, but obviously not the entire head as a whole because it got broken down during digestion as would have a cockroach.

    Also, the transverse colon is pretty high up, so i doubt it crawled in and managed to settle there.

  • Brian Garrett

    Are you sure this isn’t Bill O’Reilly’s colon? He always sounds like he’s got a bug up his a$$.

  • Tiffany Baker

    This is obviously not an authentic story. Isn’t there enough important and legitimate stories to share in the news and media about important and critical current happenings? C’mon! Stop wasting the public’s time with stories like this. We want/ need to hear about authentic pertinent stories!!

  • Leyton Jay

    She must have some serious gastric problems if the bug was not dissolved in her stomach!
    “Chew your food woman!”

    Otherwise I am inclined to agree with @Tiffany Baker, @anonymous and everyone else 😀
    What else will they find up there? A lost Shakespearian sonnet perhaps? Lord Lucan?

  • Claudia T

    Well, yes, there are plenty of important, legitimate stories. And some of those stories can be found on the rest of this website. But this is NCBI ROFL. relax!

  • Davidcc43



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NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing"). Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl


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