Body Packing and Its Radiologic Manifestations: A Review Article


Makhtoom Shahnazi 1 , Morteza Sanei Taheri 2 , * , Ramin Pourghorban 1

1 Department of Radiology, Loghman Hakim Hospital, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Iran

2 Department of Radiology, Shohada-E-Tajrish Hospital, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences,, Iran

How to Cite: Shahnazi M, Sanei Taheri M, Pourghorban R. Body Packing and Its Radiologic Manifestations: A Review Article, Iran J Radiol. Online ahead of Print ; 8(4):205-210. doi: 10.5812/iranjradiol.4757.


Iranian Journal of Radiology: 8 (4); 205-210
Article Type: Review Article
Received: November 18, 2011
Accepted: December 15, 2011


Body packing is described as using the abdominal or pelvic cavity for concealing illegal drugs. Leakage from the packets may cause catastrophic effects on smugglers and medical history is not reliable in these patients. Moreover, new sophisticated smuggling techniques make it imperative that radiologists and emergency physicians understand and familiarize themselves with the different radiological manifestations of ingested drug packets. Currently, there is no gold standard for imaging patients suspected of body packing; nevertheless, computed tomography (CT) seems to be the best modality for packet detection and unenhanced CT without bowel preparation is a reliable technique for detection of ingested packets. On abdominal radiography, packets may be visualized as oval or round radiopaque foreign bodies surrounded by a gas halo. In the literature, sensitivity of abdominal radiography is reported from 74% to 100%. Visualization of the drug packets may be strikingly hampered by administration of oral or intravenous contrast medium in abdomino-pelvic CT; hence, contrast-enhanced CT does not seem to be a suitable modality for searching the ingested packets in suspicious smugglers.

  • Implication for health policy/practice/research/medical education:
    This review article provides information about body packing and its radiologic manifestations for educational purposes.
  • Please cite this paper as:
    Shahnazi M, Sanei Taheri M, Pourghorban R. Body Packing and Its Radiologic Manifestations: A Review Article. Iran J Radiol. 2011;8(4):205-10. DOI: 10.5812/iranjradiol.4757

Copyright © 2011, Tehran University of Medical Sciences and Iranian
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