The term Gossypiboma is used to describe a retained surgical sponge in body after surgical procedure. It is an infrequent but serious surgical complication which is seldom reported because of the medicolegal implications. It can present within days as a surgical emergency or years after the operation.
We report a case of 30-year-old female who presented in emergency with acute pain abdomen and severe distention of abdomen. She had history of caesarean section 15 days ago at another hospital. On clinical examination and investigation, it appeared like a surgical abdomen. Contrast enhanced computed tomography suspected an intrabdominal Gossypiboma. On exploratory laparotomy there was a lump in left side of abdominal cavity. Retained surgical sponge was removed that confirmed the diagnosis of Gossypiboma.
Gossypiboma is a real, serious but preventable surgical complication. It affects the patient safety, cost of treatment and may cause mortality if there is delay in diagnosis and treatment. It is commonly seen in emergency and difficult surgeries. Its clinical presentation is extremely variable. It can cause acute surgical abdomen, that needs urgent surgical intervention.
Meticulous counts of surgical items with careful inspection of surgical site can lessen these complications. Radio frequency chip identification verification by barcode scanner can reduce the error rate.