Perhaps no type of medical supplies is more important or more ubiquitous than laparotomy sponges. These sponges started out with the simple purpose of keeping the surgical field clear and have evolved to encompass a wide range of factors that can greatly influence the outcome of a surgical case. One of the most important factors in the outcome of a surgical procedure is the clarity of the surgical field. As the surgeon operates, bodily fluids can leak and obscure the surgical field, making it difficult to see where the surgeon is operating. As most sponges soak up their liquid, they can change color as the fabric gets stained with the color of the fluid it soaked up. This can pose a major problem for the surgeon because a laparotomy sponge that matches the color of the surgical field can be a challenge to see. When the procedure is finished, the sponges need to be removed and counted to ensure that none of the surgical equipment is left behind. This can be challenging if the sponge blends in with the field.
When laparotomy sponges are left behind, this can be a problem for the health of the patient. These sponges need to be removed quickly; however, finding them can be a challenge. That’s where one of the recent changes in laparotomy sponge technology comes into play. Newer laparotomy sponges are developed with material that lights up on an x-ray. If a sponge is left behind, it is easily spotted on a routine x-ray because of the material is it made out of. This makes it faster to diagnose and remove. This can save the patient from receiving a battery of tests and prevent the hospital from spending a significant amount of time and money finding a missing sponge. Make sure the laparotomy sponges are easily spotted on an x-ray.