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Choosing the Right Operating Room Table

28 October, 2010 | Operating Room Table, Surgery Equipment

Operating Room Table

Operating room tables are the most central components in operating rooms, as they provide the physical support to the patient during surgical procedures. Operating room tables should be ergonomically designed and safe in all respects. Recently designed operating rooms have been planned to allow open surgery, as well as laparoscopic surgery (keyhole or minimally invasive surgery). Some operating rooms have been adopted for robotic surgery, which has much in common with laparoscopy, but causes fewer traumas to the patient.

There are many different surgical specialties which fall into the following broad categories: general, orthopedics, obstetric/gynecology, urology, cardiothoratic, neurosurgery, pediatric, plastic ENT, oral and ophthalmic.  Each surgical specialty requires different tables, special positions and individualized functions.

Operating room tables consist of a tabletop, and a fixed pedestal base which supports the table top. The table top is usually split into 3-4 sections: head, body (one or two sections) and leg/foot. Each section can be adjusted or removed according to the optimal patient positioning. Accessories are available to attach to the tabletops to enhance the usability of the tables, particularly for orthopedic procedures. This can allow more than one type of operation to be carried out on a particular table, which is essential to allow continuous workflow through the operating room and to increase overall efficiency.

There are two different types of operating room table systems: fixed base and mobile table. The fixed operating room table has different interchangeable tabletops that can be fitted to the fixed pedestal. The patient is placed onto a tabletop, which is then placed on a cart to wheel the patient into the operating room where the tabletop is then affixed to a pedestal.  The mobile operating room tables have non-transferable tops. A tabletop is permanently attached to a movable base that has three to four castors or wheels, and brakes. The patients are positioned on the operating room tables and then wheeled into the operating room. The base and wheels are locked during surgical procedures to prevent movement.

operating table

The adjustability and the maneuverability are the most important issues. Good height adjustability and longitudal slide can be very helpful in complicated situations. Also, the table top should be easily adjusted to the necessary position. Most of the older operating room tables are manually controlled by mechanical or hydraulic operation. Tables in the future are expected to be powered with control handsets that will give the operator information regarding the condition of the table and the position of the table.

The table top should be stiff and stable to carry very heavy patients. Also, the material of the tables should be transparent to X–Rays. Attention should be given to the mattress:  the table must be covered by a removable, washable, antistatic mattress; segmented or hinged to conform to the different configurations and the tabletop size. Also, the mattress should be made of a pressure-redistributing material, to avoid the formation of pressure ulcers.

Applicable standards:

IEC – 60601 – 1

IEC 60601-2- 46