Retained surgical instruments (RSIs) are a major challenge in modern operating rooms. RSIs occur as frequently as once every a thousand surgeries. They are associated with significant morbidity and mortality. The combined medical and legal cost is estimated to be $450,000 per occurrence, which is an entirely preventable and wasteful.
The status-quo to prevent RSIs, the surgical count, is inadequate as close to 90% of cases of RSIs have a correct count. Current barcoding technologies that augment the count rely on tags. Objects that are not tagged cannot be counted, let alone localized in the human body when left behind. RF approaches can localize a tagged RSI, but are expensive to implement as they require a proprietary wand or antenna that cost $20,000 each.
Some of the existing sponges and towels carry an x-ray visible ribbon which deforms and often is misinterpreted by radiologists as external to the patient.