Photo by Artur Tumasjan on Unsplash

The operating room is a tightly kept ship. Patients walk into that room in a life or death situation. Even if they are going in for an elective surgery, the mere fact that they will be under anesthetic or have their body exposed in some way, means that they could be close to death if something small were to go wrong.

This is where the ergonomics come in. The medical industry is always extensively studying the operating room and what goes on in there to look for ways that things can be improved, as well as to make sure that the high standards of the room are maintained.

So, that is what we are exploring here. We’re going over the basics of running a tight surgical field and what goes into making a safe environment for patients.

Keep the body count to a minimum

Since the idea of germ theory was widely accepted centuries ago, the medical industry has put great importance on keeping the operating room as clean an environment as possible. The best way to control this is to keep the number of people in the room to a minimum. The problem here is that it can take a lot of people in the room to get a surgery done, depending on how extensive the surgery is. But the presence of at least one surgeon, an anesthesiologist, two to four scrub techs, one circulating tech, and occasionally extra nurses or students as needed means that there are a lot of hands, breathing, and fibers that can contaminate an open body. That’s at least five people around a patient. It’s important to keep that number as low as possible so that the risk to the patient is kept to a minimum.

Keep the tools as efficient as possible

Another element of ergonomics in the operating room is keeping tools as up to date as possible. Some things are staples that have been around for centuries, like the scalpel, but even they have gone through tweaks for more efficient designs throughout history.

For example, the Galaxy II self-retracting retractor allows one less person in the room. As we’ve pointed out, there is huge importance on keeping as few people in the operating room as possible, and if someone’s main job is to adjust the retractor keeping the body open as the surgeon needs it, then they can be omitted with a retractor that can adjust itself. This innovative new surgical retractor from June Medical does just that. The retractor can be used for surgeries across the body, including high-risk areas like the hands, neck and back, for a hands-off alternative that frees the hand of the assistant for other matters.

Keep advancing methods

The latest pandemic was a great reminder to the medical industry that resting on the way you’ve always done things might not always be enough. Surgeons, doctors, nurses, and extra staff had to greatly improve their approach to hygiene. Every staff member had to wear a mask and greatly upgrade their cleaning routines to operation room standards across the hospital building. It’s a good example of adapting to the curveballs that healthcare can throw you.