Rich Antoine, product manager for surgical tables at MAQUET, discusses with Surgical Products the latest developments in surgical tables, how they’ve evolved to accommodate bariatric patients, and what facilities looking to purchase new tables should know for the future.
Surgical Products: How has technology evolved in recent years for surgical tables, specifically to accommodate bariatric patients?
Antoine: In recent years, surgical table engineering and technology have greatly improved support, stability, articulation, and safety — all vital considerations when caring for bariatric patients.
The most obvious consideration when dealing with OR tables for bariatric patients is, of course, weight capacity. Only a few years ago 300-400 lbs was the maximum patient weight for a table. Today there is a demand for the OR table to support patients with a weight of at least 500 lbs. At MAQUET we have gone well beyond that weight with our ALPHAMAXX table, offering surgeons the ability to perform surgery on patients up to 1000 lbs. with maximum safety and stability.
Stability is equally as important as weight-bearing capacity when discussing OR tables for the bariatric patient. Hydraulic legs are not the optimum answer since they can become unstable. The table needs to have a quality, solid base that ideally can be locked, as seen in the ALPHAMAXX.
When talking about bariatric patients, it is important to address the surgeon’s need for a low patient height since bariatric patients raise the operating field — a real problem for laparoscopic procedures. Low-height settings help ensure improved access, and create a more comfortable, stress-free operating environment for the surgeon.
Surgical Products: Would you be able to offer some purchasing considerations for facilities looking to make new table purchases?
Antoine: Facilities should consider several important factors:
- Weight. What is the maximum patient-weight capacity of the table? How much weight can the table safely and securely lift and articulate?
- Articulation. Comfortable access to the incision site is important. Understanding the high /low table height adjustment and angle adjustment will help accommodate the surgeon’s comfort during a procedure.
- Imaging Capability. Ideally you want a table that can lend itself to x-rays, MRIs, and CTs. Surgeons want to make the scanning process faster and more accurate.
- Versatility. It’s important to look for a table that can accommodate many different types of surgical procedures in one room. This helps keep costs down and greatly improve efficiencies.
- Patient Safety. Maximizing patient safety is an integral part in developing OR tables and accessories. For example; bed sores have always been an issue with bariatric patients. Our company's new standard Soft Foam Core pads help reduce the risk of bedsores by providing excellent pressure distribution while maintaining safe and stable patient positioning.
Surgical Products: When facilities buy a table, should they buy it for one specific specialty or buy a table that can be used among many specialties?
Antoine: Facilities should buy a table that can be used among many specialties. Multifunctional tables help increase efficiency, reduce turnover time, and ultimately help save money — a key issue in today’s health care environment. For example, rather then purchasing a table dedicated for orthopedic procedures, MAQUET offers an extension segment that can easily attach to our general OR table allowing one table to be used for multiple procedures.
Surgical Products: In the future, are there certain advancements/improvements you see in the future?
Antoine: Absolutely! The trend today is more modular tables and components/accessories that make a single table configurable to many different types of surgeries. Modular tables offer greater flexibility and adaptability, providing a full range of positioning options. This adaptability helps make hospitals more efficient since they can manage more cases daily.
As the availability of modular table increases, the stability of a table will be even more crucial. Operating tables consisting of stationary table columns or fixed based columns will be more common in the future for the US market.
The most exciting advancement today is the rise of Integrated OR suites. These hybrid rooms demand surgical tables adapt to multi-surgical procedures, provide large imaging capability, all while maintaining stability and patient safety.