BACKGROUND/AIMS: The majority of foreign body ingestions occur in pediatric population. We assessed the characteristics and endoscopic treatment outcome of esophageal foreign bodies in adults. METHODS: Medical records of consecutive 257 patients who received trial of endoscopic treatment for esophageal foreign bodies, from January 1998 through November 2003 in Gyeongsang National University Hospital, were analyzed retrospectively. RESULT: Among 257 cases, 132 were male. The incidence was highest in 5th decade, and mean age was 54.6 years. Most common location was upper esophagus (84.6%). Accidental ingestion accounted for 92.2%. Twenty cases (7.8%) of voluntary ingestion were all prisoners or in psychiatric problems. Fish bone was the most common type. Endoscopic treatment was successful in 253 cases (98.4%) and 4 were managed with rigid esophagoscopy. Four cases who complicated by acute mediastinitis or pneumomediastinum at presentation had sharp-pointed or long objects lodged in upper esophagus, and almost presented at 48 hours after the ingestion. Full esophagogastroduodenoscopy could find 37 organic lesions in 35 cases. CONCLUSIONS: Majority of esophageal foreign bodies in adults developed accidentally during meals. Voluntary ingestion of foreign bodies was not related to meals, and developed by prisoners or psychiatric patients. The sharp-pointed or long objects lodged in upper esophagus with delayed presentation may cause complication. Endoscopic treatment is safe and beneficial, and a full endoscopic evaluation should be recommended for the evaluation of a synchronous organic disease.