Body packing represents the concealment of illegal substances in a person's body with the aim of smuggling. "Body packers" either swallow drug-filled packets or introduce drug-filled packets into their bodies rectally or vaginally with the purpose of concealing them. The three main smuggled drugs are cocaine, heroin and cannabis products. Body packing represents a serious risk of acute narcotic toxicity from drug exposure, intestinal obstruction owing to pellet impaction and bowel perforation with consequent abdominal sepsis. A suspected body packer is generally admitted to hospital to perform imaging investigations and confirm the presence of drugs in his/her body. Radiological imaging methods are essential to diagnose body packing and to detect potential complications. Increasing sophistication of traffickers and improvements in packaging add to the detection difficulty. Radiologists should be aware of the appearance of drug packets in a range of imaging modalities. This article informs physicians about the challenging aspects of body packing, its background and medicolegal issues, what imaging methods can be used and what criteria are necessary to perform a correct diagnosis.
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1259/bjr.20130500|
|Codice identificativo ISI:||WOS:000334291900004|
|Codice identificativo Scopus:||2-s2.0-84907480632|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|