Surgeons follow strict operating room procedures and etiquette before surgeries. After all, operating rooms require complex techniques and sanitary measures.
So what do surgeons do before surgery? This article will cover how surgeons prepare themselves, their equipment, the operating room, and their patients before each surgery.
Eating and drinking enough for the surgery
Surgeries can be strenuous and exhausting, extending for several hours. Standing for such a long period while exposed to hot lights and tremendous stress can cause hunger and dehydration.
These can even slow down their reflexes and make their hands shake. Worst of all, surgeons might faint during surgeries.
Because of this, surgeons must eat and drink enough before proceeding to their schedules. Doing so can help them concentrate and have enough fuel for the tiring day.
Surgeons must also use the restroom before each surgery. After all, they cannot have any breaks during surgeries.
Ensuring the surgical patient’s consent
Before proceeding to the operating room, surgeons will confirm with the hospital consultant or registrar if the patient signed the consent form. Surgeons may also visit the patient and their loved ones at the hospital.
This makes them feel the surgeon’s care and character. This is also the surgeon’s opportunity to explain the procedure and its complications if there are any. The patients may also ask for clarifications regarding the surgery.
Once the paperwork is finished and confirmed, the surgeon will proceed to the operating room.
Surgeons arrive at the operating room at least fifteen minutes before the schedule of the surgery. They have to set an example to the surgical team to motivate and encourage them for the operation ahead of them.
Wearing the surgical uniform
The operating room attire prevents contamination and infectious microorganisms during the surgery. Because of this, surgeons carefully and meticulously wear their protective uniforms. They may put their clothing and belongings in locker rooms.
Scrubs are the operating room personnel’s primary uniform. These are the short-sleeved v-neck shirts and the pants that surgeons wear.
Choosing the color. As operating room professionals change their clothes for the surgery, they make sure that they wear the scrubs in the right color.
Hospitals have different color-coding standards for operating rooms. For example, some hospitals assign green for the general surgeons, dark blue for the operating room nurses, and orange for the assistants.
Wearing the right scrubs will help the surgeons and personnel identify one another’s roles and responsibilities during the surgery.
Choosing the appropriate size. Surgeons look for a colored band on the scrub’s colors and waistbands to determine the uniform’s size. The corresponding sizes depend on the hospital’s standards, and a size guide is available to help wearers choose.
Hospitals provide operating room shoes that surgeons wear since they should not bring their outside shoes inside.
The rubber, sandal-like footwear surgeons use prevents microbe contamination, electrocution from equipment, slipping on wet surfaces, and exposure from surgical residue.
Urologists wear taller boots during surgeries because their operations involve so much liquid.
Surgeons and operating room personnel are required to remove all jewelry below their elbows. They are also not permitted to wear earrings because they tend to fall into the patient. But some hospitals allow surgeons to retain plain wedding rings and small necklaces.
Proceeding to the correct operating room area
Hospital operating theaters have various divisions and subsections for different stages of preparation. Surgeons go to these operating room areas before the actual surgery:
- The scrub room is where surgeons, nurses, and personnel sanitize themselves;
- The anesthetic room is where patients are put to sleep;
- The storeroom contains surgical equipment and tools;
- The main operating room is where the actual surgery takes place.
Many hospitals do not allow phones during operations, so surgeons are expected to put their phones in silent mode or keep them away.
Surgical team briefing
Once the whole surgical team is inside the operating room, the surgeon will introduce himself, earning the trust and respect of the team members.
After the surgeon does this, all the staff members present in the operating room (such as the anesthesiologists, nurses, medical students, and other practitioners) will introduce themselves in order.
Then, they will briefly discuss the patient’s case, their positioning in the operating room, the requirements of the surgery, and the specific details of the present operation.
They will also discuss the World Health Organization Surgical Safety Checklist and fulfill it throughout the procedure.
Inside the operating room, the surgeons watch what they hold in the operating room to avoid any risk of contamination. They either clasp their hands or fold their arms to do this.
Positioning the surgical patient
The anesthesiologist will monitor the patient and put him to sleep. Then, they will bring the patient to the operating room. (The nurses or the surgeon will also apply a catheter if it is required.)
While the patient is transferred to the operating table, the surgeon will conduct further assessment and monitoring. He will also make sure that the airway and intravenous access are functioning accordingly.
After the monitoring, the patient will be positioned on the operating table based on the surgery’s requirements. These will depend on the type of surgery and the body parts that it involves.
The surgeon and the operating room staff will securely strap the patient to the table. They will also provide padding so that the patient will not be injured nor develop sores. Most importantly, they must avoid exposure and treat the sleeping patient with respect.
The final preparations before the surgery
Once the patient has been positioned, the surgeon and the personnel will drape the patient’s attire and clean the skin with antiseptic chemicals, leaving them to dry. They also shave the hair on the area.
At this point, surgeons establish a sterile field where maximum sanitation is required.
When everything is ready, the anesthesiologist will declare that it is already “okay to start.” Finally, the surgeon will do the first incision.