Survey of throat pack use: An oral surgery perspective

Anna Dargue*, Eithne Fyfe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Previous national surveys highlighted variation in throat pack use, lack of team-approach and poor adherence to safety processes. A recent review found no evidence supporting anaesthetist-inserted throat packs. A survey of oral surgeons was undertaken to establish current practice.

Materials and methods
Anonymous online questionnaire publicised via BAOS.

Fewer oral surgeons are placing throat packs routinely. There is a trend towards surgeons placing throat packs rather than anaesthetists. Four-fifths of surgeons are following best safety processes: radio-opaque material, throat pack from swab count, WHO ‘sign out’ check for removal. The increase in surgeons’ view that they have responsibility for throat pack removal is consistent with more surgeons placing throat packs. Increase in surgeons’ awareness of throat pack incidents. A quarter of surgeons cognisant of recent recommendations.

Continued variation found in oral surgeons’ use of throat packs. The decrease in routine throat pack use suggests increased decision-making by surgeons. A change in practice from anaesthetists to surgeons inserting throat packs noted. It appears this change is driven by anaesthetists, given the lack of knowledge of recent recommendations by oral surgeons. A striking improvement in adherence to safety processes observed. No adoption of team-approach to throat pack use. It is vital now to establish an evidence-base for throat pack use during oral surgical procedures.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalOral Surgery
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Oral Surgery published by British Association of Oral Surgeons and John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • oral surgery
  • patient safety
  • throat pack


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