Global medical advances within healthcare have subsequently led to the widespread introduction of biological products such as grafts, haemostats, and sealants. Although these products have been used for many decades, this subject is frequently not discussed during the consent process and remains an area of contention.
A nationwide confidential online survey was distributed to UK-based junior registrars (ST3-5), senior registrars (ST6-8), post-CCT fellows, specialist associates/staff grade doctors and consultants working in general/vascular surgery, neurosurgery, otolaryngology, oral & maxillofacial surgery and plastic surgery.
Data was collected from a total of 308 survey respondents. Biological derivatives were correctly identified in surgical products by only 25% of survey respondents, only 19% stated that they regularly consent for use of these products. Our results demonstrate that most participants in this study do not routinely consent (81%) to the intra-operative use of biological materials. An overwhelming 74% of participants agreed that further education on the intra-operative use of biological materials would be valuable.
This study highlights deficiencies in knowledge that results in potential compromise of the consenting process for surgical procedures. A solution to this would be for clinicians to increase their awareness via educational platforms and to incorporate an additional statement on the consent form which addresses the potential intraoperative use of biological products and what their derivatives may be.
Modernising the current consent process to reflect the development and use of surgical biological products will help to ensure improved patient satisfaction, fewer future legal implications as well as a better surgeon-patient relationship.

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