This the patient’s esophagus to listen to the

This lesson will provide a general overview of the many different pieces of medical equipment that can be found associated with surgery and anesthesia.

Surgery & Anesthesia Equipment

Surgery is really the choice of last resort in medicine.

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If at all possible, doctors and veterinarians strive to treat the problem medically first. ‘Course, in cases like severely broken bones, surgery is many times the only choice left on the table. Like two peas in a pod, surgery is always closely associated with anesthesia. Anesthesia helps to calm a patient, put them into a temporary sleep, and relieve pain.We’re going to introduce common medical equipment and instruments associated with or found in the surgical suite of a veterinary hospital. The list here is nowhere near exhaustive and other lessons will point out much more, but it will serve as a good general overview for you to get an idea of what to expect.

Major Equipment

When entering a surgical suite, the first thing you’ll notice somewhere close to the center is a surgical table, a table where the patient is placed for surgery.

If you look up, above that you will see surgical lights. Some are attached to the wall or ceiling and others can be wheeled around.Near the surgical table will be the mayo stand, a stand with a removable tray where sterile medical instruments and supplies can be placed during surgery.

Also quite close to the surgical table will be the anesthesia machine, the machine that delivers oxygen and gas anesthetic to the patient.Some anesthesia machines rely on an oxygen tank, a green metal tank, to provide oxygen to the patient while other anesthesia machines hook up to an oxygen supply coming from the wall or ceiling via a green hose.

Monitoring Equipment

When a patient is in surgery, the veterinarian, veterinary nurses, and assistants will be tasked with monitoring the vital signs of a patient. They are namely the patient’s temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure. There are several pieces of equipment and supplies that help with this.One is called an esophageal stethoscope. This is a stethoscope that is slid into the patient’s esophagus to listen to the heart.

Respiratory sounds can also be heard using the esophageal stethoscope. While some esophageal stethoscopes allow for the monitoring of temperature as well, in veterinary medicine, it is more common to use a rectal thermometer for this.Another device that you’ll encounter is the pulse oximeter. The pulse oximeter (or pulse ox) is a device that measures the patient’s oxygen saturation and pulse rate.

Oxygen saturation refers to how many of the oxygen binding sites in blood are taken up by oxygen. The more, the better.Blood pressure cuffs are also placed around a patient to monitor their, well, blood pressure.

This is important because a low blood pressure can indicate too much anesthetic gas is being delivered, which can damage internal organs, and it may change the veterinarian’s opinion as to what kinds of post-operative medications they can give to the animal in a safe manner.All of the four major vital signs can be measured continuously by various pieces of equipment hooked up to the patient. All of this information is then displayed on an EKG or vital signs monitor.

Some of these are part of anesthesia machines and others are stand-alone units. Regardless, they can display a lot of information, including a patient’s heart rate and rhythm, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and temperature.But I want you to remember one thing: never trust the vital sign monitor’s values alone. Always double check these values using traditional monitoring techniques. For instance, check the monitor’s heart rate values versus what you actually hear using the esophageal stethoscope. Sometimes, the values on these monitors can be wrong; as you well know, technology can have its problems!

Many Other Pieces of Equipment

What we just covered are the very basics of what you’ll see.

Many other lessons will go over much more in more detail. However, I want you to get an idea of how many other things are involved directly or indirectly with surgery and anesthesia before finishing this lesson. So, let’s take a look at some other things you’ll see.

  • An endoscope, an instrument that helps look inside a patient
  • Cold sterile trays that help sterilize some medical instruments
  • An autoclave to sterilize many other pieces of instruments and supplies
  • An ultrasonic cleaner
  • Suture material
  • Staple guns to staple, as opposed to suture, an incision site
  • Surgical attire, including masks, caps, gloves, booties, gowns, and even face shields
  • Endotracheal (or ET) tubes, tubes placed inside a patient to deliver anesthetic gas and oxygen during surgery
  • An ambu bag, a device used to help manually breathe for a patient who is not breathing adequately on their own
  • Ventilators that breathe for a patient automatically
  • Bair huggers (or forced air warming blankets), which help keep patients warm

Lesson Summary

This lesson went over some basic, common, and important pieces of equipment and supplies associated with surgery and anesthesia. Here are some of the things we went over.A surgical table, a table where the patient is placed for surgery.

Near this, there will be a mayo stand, a stand with a removable tray where sterile medical instruments and supplies can be placed during surgery; and an anesthesia machine, the machine that delivers oxygen and gas anesthetic to the patient, with an oxygen tank, a green metal tank hooked up to it.When a patient is under anesthesia, it’s critical to monitor their vital signs: their temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure. A rectal thermometer, blood pressure equipment, and an esophageal stethoscope can help with this. An esophageal stethoscope is a stethoscope that is slid into the patient’s esophagus to listen to the heart and respiratory sounds.Additionally a ‘pulse ox’ can be used.

The full name is pulse oximeter, a device that measures the patient’s oxygen saturation and pulse rate.Other than that, you should’ve learned about the following pieces of equipment:

  • An endoscope, an instrument that helps look inside a patient
  • Endotracheal (or ET) tubes, tubes placed inside a patient to deliver anesthetic gas and oxygen during surgery
  • An ambu bag, a device used to help manually breathe for a patient who is not breathing adequately on their own

Learning Outcomes

When you’re finished with the lesson, you should be able to:

  • Describe the major equipment found in a surgical suite
  • List the monitoring equipment used during veterinary surgery
  • Recall some of the other pieces of equipment found in a surgical suite
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