The case of the appendicitis that turned out to be broccoli.

By Seriously Science | July 23, 2014 6:00 am
Photo: flickr/darwinbell

Photo: flickr/darwinbell

Think broccoli is a harmless, tasty vegetable that’s a good source of fiber and vitamin C? Think again! According to this article, lurking under that unassuming green exterior is a villain capable of masquerading as appendicitis. Apparently, if you somehow swallow a large enough piece of broccoli, it can become lodged in the intestine. The resulting symptoms resemble appendicitis and required surgery for one unfortunate patient (see photo below of the offending floret… if you dare). Nice try, broccoli.

Rare appendicitis-like syndrome: the case of the obstructing broccoli.

“The diagnosis of acute appendicitis can be somewhat obscure in a patient that presents with right lower quadrant abdominal pain. The advancement and ease of imaging have made CT scanning readily available in the emergency department. Management can be challenging when the patient has a high likelihood of appendicitis based on clinical suspicion and negative CT scan. The purpose of this case report is to demonstrate how an obstructing bezoar caused an appendicitis-like syndrome in a patient with negative CT scan and clinical diagnosis of acute appendicitis. This case report will discuss the appendicitis-like syndrome of an obstructing bezoar and an approach at management.”

Bonus figure from the main text:

Large 5 cm × 6 cm piece of broccoli.

Large 5 cm × 6 cm piece of broccoli.

Related content:
Friday Flashback: How good is cola for dissolving bezoars?
NCBI ROFL: Beware of the flaming hairball–a brief review and warning.
NCBI ROFL: Rectal salami.

  • Thorfinn_Hausakljuv

    Perhaps chewing your food would be a good idea.

  • dianegordon

    right Thorfinn!!!!

  • Brian Freeman

    Chewing!? I barely have time to eat! 😉

  • Uncle Al

    Recycle. It looks good for another run through.

  • Matthew Slyfield

    It just goes to show that a large enough dose of anything can kill you.


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Seriously, Science?, formerly known as NCBI ROFL, is the brainchild of two prone-to-distraction biologists. We highlight the funniest, oddest, and just plain craziest research from the PubMed research database and beyond. Because nobody said serious science couldn't be silly!
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