Author(s): Marquardt G, Rettig J, Lang J, Seifert V
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Abstract Surgically acquired foreign bodies are well known but not widely reported. Only seven articles pertaining to this subject were found in the current neurosurgical literature. Are they a denied neurosurgical reality? In this report with a concededly provoking title, the authors elucidate clinical and medicolegal aspects of retained surgical sponges, with emphasis on spinal procedures. To highlight particulars, a case is presented in which a retained surgical sponge was encountered as the cause of progressive low back pain and tender swelling in the scar area after instrumented posterolateral lumbar spinal fusion combined with pedicle screw fixation for lumbosacral spondylolisthesis 4 years earlier. However, until today, no reported neurosurgical patient has suffered a serious complication due to a retained surgical sponge. The authors wish to remind the neurosurgical community to learn from unpleasant clinical and medicolegal experiences in other specialties before serious complications occur, and we suggest rigorous standardization of intraoperative habits to avoid this hazardous complication.
This article was published in Neurosurg Rev
and referenced in Journal of Spine