Transmural migration of a retained laparotomy sponge

Jasbir S. Dhillon, Adrian Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The most common surgically retained foreign body is the laparotomy sponge. The clinical presentation of a retained sponge can vary from an incidental finding on plain radiograph to an intense inflammatory response with obstruction or perforation. In the case described here a patient reported abdominal pain 11 months after her hysterectomy. Although two sponge counts appeared in the operative record one laparotomy sponge had been overlooked. Apparently an inflammatory response created an abscess pocket around the sponge between the abdominal wall and the ileum resulting in perforation of the ileum. Through this opening the sponge migrated into the lumen of the small bowel, from which it was surgically removed. The patient recovered without complications. The case highlights the importance of a thorough exploration of all quadrants of the abdomen at the termination of surgical cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)603-605
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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