EBD wha?
September 23, 2009 7:38 AM   Subscribe

I just had some surgery done on my knee and lower leg, and when I took the bandages off, I discovered written in purple marker the phrase "EBD YES!" What might that mean?
posted by Bezbozhnik to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Probably, "YES, cut this leg, not the other one!"
posted by iamkimiam at 7:42 AM on September 23, 2009

Don't surgeons often mark the appendage they're supposed to operate on with their initials, so they don't accidentally open up the wrong one?
posted by ocherdraco at 7:43 AM on September 23, 2009

Maybe something to make sure the surgical team gets the right knee?
posted by lunasol at 7:43 AM on September 23, 2009

"When a choice of side/site for a surgical/invasive procedure exists, no patient shall leave the Operating Room Holding Area for a procedure is the side/site has not been clearly marked by the surgeon, including the surgeons initials, on or at the anatomical site of the proposed intervention. Marking will be done with surgical skin markers only. Wrong side may also be marked with the universal no sign or a “no” at the surgeons direction. Correct side or site will be marked with the surgeon’s initials. If dressings or casts cover the site, or if there is an open wound at the site, the covering can be marked in the same fashion and/or the extremity proximal or distal to the site can be marked. If different procedures are planned for different sites during the same anesthesia event the appropriate site may be marked “yes” and a short abbreviation also marked on each location. To identify a digit, a dot or star should be used to identify the appropriate digit."

posted by ocherdraco at 7:44 AM on September 23, 2009 [6 favorites]

Best answer: "Endoscopic balloon dilation" or "endoscopic biliary drainage" both come up, but I can't imagine that either procedure was done as part of knee surgery.

Could it be a nurse making sure that "yes, this is the leg to operate on"? Maybe it's the initials of person who marked your knee, signaling that they verified that it was the correct leg?
posted by chrisamiller at 7:47 AM on September 23, 2009

Confirmation that your health insurance checked out OK?
posted by Phanx at 7:49 AM on September 23, 2009 [2 favorites]

More about why initials as opposed to other markings from "Wrong Sided Surgery in Orthopaedics":
Proposed Identification of the Correct Side

* Have your office chart with you in the Operating Facility
* Visit your patient preoperatively to mark the limb
* Have the patient identify the site and side to be operated upon.

Mark the specific area to be operated upon with your INITIALS by using a permanent marking pen.

Do not mark the limb in an area that could be draped out during surgery. You must see your initials while you are operating.

Do not operate unless you see your initials before making your incision.


The marking pen will not alter the infection rate. It is cosmetically transparent in five to seven days. The use of an “X” has failed in these cases. The failure most often results when the patients have crossed their legs, resulting in a perfect reciprocal “X” on their normal leg. You would recognize your initials being backwards. Marking the normal leg with “wrong leg” has failed when it has been incorrectly draped out.

Seeing your initials prepped and visually apparent in the operative field assures you of the correct limb or site before making your incision or puncture. You condition yourself from early on in your training to not start unless you see your initials.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:55 AM on September 23, 2009 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: The intials idea seems like a good one, though my surgeon's initials are not EBD. There were a bunch of other folks in the OR that I hadn't seen before, so perhaps there was an EBD among them.

I did have an endoscopy, though, so the "Endoscopic balloon dilation" theory could be true.
posted by Bezbozhnik at 7:59 AM on September 23, 2009

Strange anecdote: I once knew a guy who had to have his big toe on his left foot amputated due to diabetes. When he was a teenager, he had lost his big toe on his right foot in a lawnmower accident, and they still wrote YES on one leg and NO on the other.
posted by 4ster at 8:55 AM on September 23, 2009

When I had hand surgery I woke up with NOT THIS ONE written on my left hand in sharpy. When the bandages came off my right hand, it had a big arrow pointing to the incision spot.
posted by electroboy at 9:09 AM on September 23, 2009 [6 favorites]

Yeah, I just had something cut off my hindquarters recently, and it caused my wife and the post-op nurse no end of amusement when I woke up and they found the surgeon's initials and a big-ass arrow pointing at the incision spot, scrawled on my ass in purple marker. This is standard procedure, as noted above.
posted by BigLankyBastard at 9:52 AM on September 23, 2009

Well, in my family of medical professionals, they always recommend marking yourself before surgery -- after all, who knows best which leg/hand/whatever hurts than you? It's rare to get operated on something that was not intended but no one wants to be that one-in-a-million.
posted by amanda at 10:01 AM on September 23, 2009

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations has made preventing wrong-side/wrong site surgery a major goal. All of the policies mentioned above are put forth to compy with that initiative. There is a lot of information about it here.
posted by TedW at 10:04 AM on September 23, 2009

I have to admit, the fact that I had my gall bladder removed through arthroscopy, and talked to the surgeon just a little before surgery (he had me do the "10, 9, 8" count for the anaesthesiologist), means that I missed this stuff. Which I suppose is all right; when I first saw myself and really remember it, I probably would have freaked out. (Hell, I kind of freaked at the staples.)

(Oh, he told me afterwards I got to 4 before passing out. Said that meant I had a good constitution. I only remember getting to 7.)
posted by mephron at 10:14 AM on September 23, 2009

My wife just had foot surgery and they ask her to write Yes on the correct foot and No on the wrong one.

When the bandages were removed we discovered the Doctor had signed his work.
posted by Mick at 10:15 AM on September 23, 2009

Just chiming in to confirm that when I had knee surgery last year, both I and the surgeon marked the correct knee before the surgery.
posted by not that girl at 12:55 PM on September 23, 2009

When I had surgery on my arm they asked my friend to mark the correct arm. He took the pen and drew a dotted line not far from my shoulder then wrote "cut here".
posted by ericales at 5:46 PM on September 23, 2009

my mum went in for knee surgery here in australia many years ago. it was meant to be on the left knee... but when she came out of the theatre, they'd carved up the (perfectly healthy) right knee. so for sure, they do sometimes do their business on the wrong side.
posted by Philby at 5:54 PM on September 23, 2009

The last knee surgery I had, I wrote "Happy Birthday, Dr. X!" on the correct knee. It was his birthday that day and a nurse had told me. He laughed when he saw it. I blame the Versed.
posted by marmot at 1:50 PM on September 24, 2009

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