UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Trauma

Title: No evidence to support use of markers for penetrating trauma radiographs

Keywords: Marker, penetrating trauma, radiopaque (PubMed Search)

Posted: 4/7/2024 by Robert Flint, MD (Updated: 6/13/2024)
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Using radiopaque markers such as paperclips to mark penetrating wounds prior to radiographs has been taught in trauma bays for decades. This article points out there is no evidence to support this practice and is purely based on expert opinion. With the heavy use of CT imaging to assess wound tracks, the use of markers on plain films appears to be of limited utility.


Sarfaraz K, Nemeth J, Bahreini M. The use of radiopaque markers is medical dogma. Acad Emerg Med. 2024 Feb;31(2):193-194. doi: 10.1111/acem.14858. Epub 2024 Feb 6. PMID: 38112251.