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Counts/Retained Surgical Items

When should counts of soft goods be performed?

Answer:

Counts of soft goods should be performed:
• Before the procedure to establish a baseline and identify manufacturing packaging errors (ie, initial count);
• When new items are added to the field;
• Before closure of a cavity within a cavity (eg, uterus);
• When wound closure begins;
• At skin closure at the end of the procedure or at the end of the procedure when counted items are no longer in use (ie, final count) and
• At the time of permanent relief of either the scrub person or the RN circulator, although direct visualization of all items may not be possible.

Resource: 

Recommended practices for prevention of retained surgical items. In: Perioperative Standards and Recommended Practices. Denver, CO: AORN, Inc; 2013:305-322.

Updated January 28, 2013

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