Although systems exist to track surgical sponges, tracking a surgeon's instruments is still being done manually, which is painfully slow and prone to error.
Surgeons can use up to 250 different tools during an operation to perform tasks such as cutting, grasping, cauterizing, suturing and suctioning.
A new system of RFID tracking has now been developed that can endure the high temperatures used to sterilize instruments as well as not altering the shape and form of familiar tools.
A vapor deposition process is used to deposit a dielectric material directly onto the tool's metal surface, then a conductive antenna is patterned, and the RFID chip is attached, followed by a biocompatible sealant.
A visual display in the operating room catalogs the tools brought into the theatre and the tool count is confirmed when the tools leave the room, making sure none are left inside a patient.
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