An Operating Table is a table on which a patient lies during a surgical procedure. Sometimes known as a surgical table or operation table, operating tables are typically used within an operating room or surgical suite of a hospital, ambulatory surgery center, or other healthcare facilities where surgeries are performed. Operating tables may be either stationary or mobile to move from room to room. Operating tables are used in various types of procedures such as cardiothoracic, orthopedic, bariatric, robotic, urologic, and more.
While there is not one perfect operating table, choosing the right operating table for each surgical procedure is important for patient safety and successful outcomes in the operating room. The decision to use a certain operating table over another depends on patient risk factors, positioning abilities, type of procedure, and length of the procedure. Some features of good surgical tables include versatility, ease of use, reliability, generous weight and height restrictions, and accessory capabilities.
The uses of an operating table depend on its design and specifications. For example, some operating tables are designed to perform a wide range of procedures while others are designed specifically for orthopedic procedures. A patient lies on the operating table during a surgical procedure. The purpose of a surgical table is to keep the patient in place while the surgical team operates, and may move various parts of the body using surgical table accessories for easier access to the surgical site.
Countless procedures are performed on operating tables. These include cardiovascular, gynecology, pediatric, orthopedic, and pediatric surgeries. Because of the variety of procedures and types of surgical tables, weight and height restrictions are set to keep the patient safe during surgery.
Surgical procedures require proper patient positioning to keep the patient comfortable and safe during surgery, and to provide the surgeon with easy, unobstructed access to the surgical site. Many factors influence the decision of how to position a patient during a procedure:
The patient's overall condition
Length of procedure
Techniques to be used during the procedure
Required exposure at the operative site
Expected anatomical and physiological changes associated with anesthesia
Furthermore, there are various risk factors that may lead to a patient's vulnerability to injury from improper positionings, such as:
Long procedures (3+ hours)
Bone and joint conditions
Skin breakdown due to aging
Malnutrition, hypovolemia, anemia, paralysis, obesity, extreme thinness, or diabetes
The most common surgical positions are supine, Trendelenburg, reverse Trendelenburg, prone, lithotomy, sitting and lateral positions.
Supine : This position is the natural position of the body at rest, making it the most common posture for surgery. Common complications associated with the supine position are backaches and pressure-point reactions.
Trendelenburg : The Trendelenburg position is a variation of the supine position. The upper torso is lowered and the feet raised, allowing for optimal visualization of the pelvic organs during laparoscopy and lower abdominal procedures.
Reverse Trendelenburg : Commonly known as the head-up and feet-down position, the reverse Trendelenburg is often used in head and neck procedures.
Prone : In this position, the patient lies flat on their stomach and their head is turned to the side. This position is most commonly used for cervical spine, back, and rectal area procedures.
Lithotomy : While in the lithotomy position, the patient is in a supine position and their legs are raised and abducted. Stirrups are needed for this position.
Sitting : Also known as Fowler's position, the patient in this position is sitting at a 90-degree angle. The knees are slightly flexed and the feet are placed against a padded footboard. This position is ideal for neurosurgery, facial operations, and some shoulder surgeries.
Lateral : The lateral position places the patient on the non-operative side to that surgery can be performed on the hip, chest, or kidney.