retained surgical sponge

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retained surgical sponge2016-12-27T10:13:14+00:00

retained surgical sponge


A surgical sponge, gauze pad or other textile, which was left behind in the operative field after closing the patient. Retained surgical sponges may become a nidus for infection or, worse yet, a lawsuit.

These ad hoc terms–see below, synonyms–are presumably meant to confuse patients who get copies of their surgical notes. None of the synonyms are entirely satisfactory, given the array of material that can be left behind. From a practical standpoint, the “left behinds” can be loosely divided into 3 groups:

(1) Cloths, textiles, and synthetic and natural fibres, which may have become infected during the operation, including cotton, rayon, cottonoids, non-resorbable haemostats, oxidised cellulose polymers, Gelfoam, and monofibrillar collagen

(2) Instruments composed of inert material (stainless steel, Teflon, polymers) with a smooth surface, which was sterile or close to sterile when the field was closed. Little harm would be expected if instrument has three dimensions that are close to unity, i.e., are rounder than long and have no sharp edges

(3) Instruments that have sharp edges or are elongated and thus could perforate organs and tissues in the future, and

Synonyms Gauzoma, gossipiboma, gossypiboma, muslinoma, retained foreign body, retained lap sponge, retained surgical gauze, textiloma 

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