4 ways to ruin your surgical space

September 21, 2018

You dream of performing surgery in a flawlessly designed, perfectly executed veterinary surgical suite. But the reality is often less-than-perfect.

What does it take to screw up a surgical suite? It's simple, says Jennifer Wardlaw, DVM, MS, DACVS. To really ruin your space-and make it harder to perform that tricky cranial cruciate ligament repair, simply follow this advice.

"Hey. HEY. This stuff doesn't belong here. Move it. Why do I keep running into this?" If you say this, you might want to make some small tweaks to your surgical space, right? (Shutterstock.com)1. Store everything in the surgical suite

Since it's the lowest traffic room, really junk it up by storing things like equipment-less room and more dust. Score! And since you've put shelves and cabinets in there to store things like surgical equipment, you'll have even less room to maneuver around a sterile field and you'll increase traffic, going back and forth, back and forth, to find, clean, package and store things.

Sure, having just walls, the table and lights makes things better for thorough cleaning after a surgery. And furniture movers under heavy things to make it easier to clean the floors underneath them at least once a week. But who wants that?

2. Make sure there are not enough electrical outlets

You have monitors, fluid pumps, heating devices, the table, maybe cautery and hopefully music. That takes outlets in more than one wall and either lots of outlets or some nice surge-protected power bars. But it's way more fun if you limit the number of outlets and add the excitement of unplugging equipment or running extension cords across the floor where your technician walks.

3. Create a blind spot around the surgery room door

Do not put a window in the wall or the door, under any circumstances. Then sit back and watch as your coworkers bang into things or other people entering and leaving the operating room. This means bruised foreheads but also maybe dropped equipment or even patients.

4. Make sure the room is no bigger than a coat closet

You really don't want the operating room to be too big, right? Just space for you and the patient and a mayo stand. After all, you never need an extra hand, the anesthesia tech won't ever need someone to pass an extra bag of fluids, and you never plan to have a concierge specialist at your practice. So who needs more room to maneuver around the patient safely during surgery?