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How to Maintain an Operating Table

Operating Table

An operating table is used in the operating room for surgeons to operate on. It is characterized by 3 sections, namely the head, body and leg, with each section independent from the other in up/down navigation. The head can also be tilted up and down to suit operation needs. Operating tables are often very heavy, hence are moved with the aid of wheels and brake. Heavy patients can cause the tables to sink during procedures.

An operating table is either electrically or mechanically operated. A mechanically operated table is positioned either by turning a large knob by hand or pneumatically pumping a pedal. With knobs, maintenance is limited to keeping the threads of the screws lubricated. Electrically operated tables makes use of motors and lead screws.

Upward movement is created by pumping a foot pedal while downward and tilt movements are produced by bleed valves releasing pressure from the cylinders. The bleed valve is actuated either by slide knobs or lifting the foot pedal up past its resting position.

Pre-use check involves:

  • Fluid leak.
  • Closed bleed valve.
  • Pedal connection to the hydraulic cylinder.
  • Correct pedal activation

operating table

Maintaining an Operating Table

Pneumatic tables move by pumping a pedal to move the parts hydraulically, such as the excavating arms of a backhoe. A common problem with these tables is worn seals around pistons which causes hydraulic oil to leak. The implication is that that once a position is reached, it will slowly change over the period of the operation. Low fluid levels may also replicate the above scenario; hence should be refilled during pre-use check. To repair a leaky hydraulic, consult the service manual provided by the manufacturer just as you would a blood gas analyzer. Alternatively, replace the seal with a matching one from the inventory.

Finally, check for wear in brake pads which activates locking system of the table during operation. You should also check for and repair tears in the rubber table covering using patches similar to those of a vulcanizer.

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