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August 4, 1951


Author Affiliations


Professor of Radiology, Boston University School of Medicine, and Chief, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts Memorial Hospitals, Boston.

JAMA. 1951;146(14):1320-1321. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.63670140008011f

While it is extremely rare for a roentgenologist to be called on to locate a surgical sponge, such an occasion demands a positive answer in the shortest possible time. Numerous devices have been employed to mark surgical sponges so that they may be identified on a roentgenogram. These include lead disks or metal staples fastened to the sponge, barium-impregnated thread woven into the sponge, barium-impregnated strips, and others. All of these fall short in meeting the requirement of positive identification. For example, the staple may resemble a metal clip commonly used by many surgeons for hemostasis. The small barium strip may overlie a transverse process of a lumbar vertebra, which it resembles, and not be recognized, and most other identifying devices may possibly be confused with something normally used at operation, or be obscured by the shadow of anatomical structures. It is obvious that to fulfill its function in this

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