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Operating Room (OR)

What is an operating room (OR)?

The operating room (OR) is the location where surgical procedures are performed. It’s a sterile environment intended to prevent infection during the surgical procedure. ORs are also brightly lit to ensure surgeons can see what they are doing and air-conditioned to further prevent infection.

ORs can vary based on the type of surgery they accommodate, with the equipment in the operating room matching the needs of the surgical team.

Some of the equipment that may be included in the OR include:

  • Anesthesia machine
  • Anesthesia cart
  • Surgical table
  • EKG machine
  • AED/defibrillator
  • Vital signs monitor
  • Nerve stimulator
  • Blood warmer
  • Imaging devices

What are the three common types of operating rooms (ORs)?

Operating rooms are designed to meet the unique needs of a hospital or population it serves. There are three types of operating rooms: digital, hybrid, and integrated.

Digital operating rooms are built around central data systems that integrate imaging, software, and video data systems. These operating rooms enable the sharing, transfer, and collection of medical data, which may be used during the operation or afterward to assess outcomes and inform care plans.

Hybrid operating rooms bring together surgical equipment and medical imaging devices to support minimally invasive surgical procedures without needing to transfer a patient to another room for imaging.  

Integrated operating rooms feature functionally integrated surgical systems that combine lighting, audio, video, and operating equipment in a single, centrally controlled unit to improve surgical efficiency by eliminating the need to move equipment to and from the operating room during a procedure.

Why is an operating room (OR) important for healthcare?

The operating room (OR) offers a place for surgeons to complete surgical procedures safely. Not only is the OR sterile to prevent infection, but it also contains all the equipment the surgical team needs to perform the procedure and respond should complications arise. By having this equipment nearby, the medical team can respond more quickly.

Some of the most popular procedures performed in ORs include:

  • Knee replacement
  • Hip replacement
  • Percutaneous coronary angioplasty (PTCA)
  • Appendectomy
  • Hysterectomy
  • Coronary artery bypass graft
  • Spinal fusion