One of the leading causes of medical malpractice claims in emergency medicine is the misdiagnosis of the presence of foreign bodies. Radiolucent foreign bodies are especially difficult to differentiate from surrounding soft tissue, gas, and bone using existing clinical imaging modalities. Because many radiolucent foreign bodies have sufficient contrast for imaging in the optical domain, we are exploring the use of laser-induced optoacoustic imaging for the detection of foreign bodies, especially in orbital and craniofacial injuries, in which the foreign bodies are likely to lie within the penetration depth of visible and near infrared wavelengths. In order to evaluate the performance of optoacoustic imaging for clinical detection and characterization, common foreign bodies have been scanned over a range of visible and near infrared wavelengths to obtain the spectroscopic properties of the materials commonly associated with these foreign bodies. The foreign bodies are also being embedded in realistic ex vivo tissue phantoms to evaluate the changes that may occur in the spectroscopic absorption of the materials due to the interaction with tissue absorbers. Ultimately, we anticipate that spectroscopic characterization will help identify specific wavelengths to be used for imaging foreign bodies that will provide useful diagnostic data about the material properties of the object, thereby enabling the characterization, as well as the location, of the objects. This information will aid the clinician in choosing the optimal treatment course for the patient.