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Ideas That Work: Purple Haze
Why Would You Swirl a Marker Into a Clear Liquid?
OSD Staff
Publish Date: March 31, 2015   |  Tags:   Ideas That Work
purple fluid TO DYE FOR No one is going to accidentally inject purple fluid — in this case Afrin.

Editor's Note

A few caveats with this tip:

  • AORN says to label all solutions on the sterile field.
  • Surgical site markers are intended for use on skin only.
  • Although the solution is not being injected, it — and the marker dye — could come in contact with a patient's mucous membranes.

Why Would You Swirl a Marker Into a Clear Liquid?

When we have more than one clear liquid on the sterile field, including one that's not to be injected — usually a topical of some sort — we eliminate any possibility of a mix-up by swirling a surgical marker in the non-injectable fluid. That turns it purple and eliminates any potential confusion. An example: a nasal spray like Afrin, which is used during ear, nose, and throat surgery to improve visualization of the airway and to minimize post-operative bleeding.

Theda Kontis, MD, FACS
Facial Plastic Surgicenter
Baltimore, Md.
[email protected]