BMJ Case Reports 2012; doi:10.1136/bcr-2012-006316
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Gossypiboma as an unusual cause of altered bowel habit

Press Release
  1. Nigel Suggett3
  1. 1Department of General Surgery, Frenchay Hospital, Bristol, UK
  2. 2Department of Surgery, University Hospital Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  3. 3Department of Colorectal Surgery, University Hospital Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to George Filobbos, gfilobbos{at}


Gossypiboma is the term for a surgical swab accidentally left inside a patient's body. It is derived from the Latin word ‘gossypium’ meaning cotton and the Swahili ‘boma’ meaning place of concealment.1 Gossypiboma has an incidence of 1:1500 for intra-abdominal operations.2 Common presentations of gossypiboma are abdominal distension, ileus, tenesmus, pain, palpable mass, vomiting, weight loss, diarrhoea, abscess and fistula formation.3 In addition to the physical and psychological impact …

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