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RF Surgical Systems has raised $12 million, money that the Bellevue company will use to enhance its RFID technology for locating surgical sponges that doctors inadvertently leave behind during medical procedures. Investors in the round include Split Rock Partners, Menlo Ventures and Stanford University.

The company released its RF Assure Detection System in November 2010, and since then more than 1,000 hospitals and surgical centers are utilizing the technology. The company says that there are an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 cases of sponges that are left behind in patient’s bodies post surgery.

“This new infusion of financing will help drive our continued growth by enabling us to scale operations and continue to evolve to meet the needs of our customers in providing the utmost in patient safety,” said Dr. Jeffrey Port, co-founder and chairman of RF Surgical.

Here’s a quick description from the company, which uses a surgical mat placed on the bed and a “Blair Port Wand” to identify sponge count inconsistencies:

RF Surgical Detection Technology uses a low energy radio frequency signal uniquely engineered to detect misplaced surgical sponges prior to wound closure through blood, dense tissue, bone and metal.

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