Outcomes Presented at the Academic Surgical Congress 2017| Volume 163, ISSUE 4, P883-888, April 2018

Identifying lost surgical needles with visible and near infrared fluorescent light emitting microscale coating

Published:January 12, 2018DOI:



      Retained foreign bodies (RFOs) have substantial clinical and financial consequences. In laparoscopic surgery, RFOs can be a cause of needing to convert a minimally invasive surgery (MIS) procedure to an open operation. A coating for surgical models was developed to augment localization of needles using fluorescence appropriate for open and minimally invasive surgeries procedures.


      An epoxy matrix containing both dansyl chloride and indocyanine green was coated as visible and near infrared labels, respectively. With ultraviolet excitation, dansyl chloride emits green fluorescence and with NIR excitation, the ICG dye emits radiation observable with specialized near infrared capable laparoscopes. To evaluate the coatings, open and laproscopic surgeries were simulated in rabbits. Surgeons blinded to the type of needles (coated or non-coated) were timed while finding needles in standard conditions and with the use of the adjunct coatings. Control needles not located within 300 seconds were researched with the corresponding near infrared or ultraviolet light. Localization time was evaluated for statistical significance, P < .05.


      All dual dye coated needles searched utilizing the near infrared camera (n = 26) or ultraviolet light (n= 26) were located within 300 seconds. Conversely, 9 needles in both control settings (no dye usage) were not located within 300 seconds. Mean time to locate control needles in open surgery and laparoscopic surgery was statistically 2-3× greater than time to localization with the use of dye as an adjunct (P = .0027 open, P < .001 laparoscopic).


      Incorporation of a dual-dye fluorescent coating on surgical needles improved the efficiency of locating needles, may minimize the need to convert minimally invasive surgeries procedures to open, and may decrease the consequences of a missed RFO.
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