Gossypiboma: Is it always what it appears to be? A Rare Complication in Everyday Practice


  • Daniel Sheffer Hillel Yaffe Medical center




liver trauma, gelfoam, gossipiboma


Background: While the management of liver injury is usually conservative, the major indication for surgery remains hemodynamic instability. Different techniques are described for hemostasis in cases which require surgery. Several commercial hemostatic agents are readily available and can be used as an adjunct after the repair of the liver injuries. One of the most well-known local agents is gelfoam, which is used in multiple fields of surgery. The aim of this work is to present a very rare complication while using gelfoam, mimicking gossipiboma.

Design: A case study describing a hemodynamically unstable patient who suffered from a penetrating liver injury. Hemostasis was achieved by liver suture and Gelfoam with subsequent angioembolization. In the post-operative period, the patient demonstrated signs of intraabdominal sepsis due to liver abscess. Repeated attempts of percutaneous drainage failed, and all cultures were negative. Due to a strong suspicion of a forgotten abdominal pad (gossipiboma), the patient was operated on and the object was removed. The final pathological report showed no textile in the specimen, the findings were compatible with a piece of gelfoam without any signs of absorption.

Discussion and Conclusions: Commonly used hemostatic agents are made of gelatin gelfoams, microfibrillar collagen, thrombin, and fibrin sealant. Gelfoam is available in sponge or powder form. The sponge can be left in place and is supposed to be completely absorbed in four to six weeks. We found in the relevant literature only one case of gelfoam use related to granuloma formation.
In our case, the radiologic findings in the liver were interpreted as an abscess. The suspicion of a foreign body was raised only during his second admission and thus forced us to operate. There is no clear reason why the piece of gelfoam wasn’t absorbed in that time period. Our assumption is that post angiography liver ischemia may have disturbed the process of fibrin destruction. The possibility of such condition should be considered when liver angioembolization is performed adjunct to surgical hemostasis using gelfoam.


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