A Comprehensive Buying Guide When Choosing Surgical Lights

A Comprehensive Buying Guide When Choosing Surgical Lights

surgical lights in the operating room

Surgical Lights Should Not Be A Distraction

Patient safety is a top concern for all of healthcare, including the OR. Considering that every 7.5 minutes, surgical lights need repositioning during surgery, this can lead to unnecessary distractions during a procedure.

When surgical lights are readjusted 97% of the time, the surgeon must stop their current surgical task to complete the lighting adjustment. Equipment distractions, including light adjustments, are one of the most significant distractions during a surgical procedure.  

Brightness is not the only factor that may lead to surgical light adjustments. There are several other factors to look into before purchasing. This article covers the most important factors to consider when making a significant investment in your facility.

More Than Shining Bright 

Brightness is something you must consider before purchasing, however, there are several other factors to consider as well.

  • Lifespan
  • Heat emission 
  • Infection control

A bright surgical light is great, but if you have to replace it after a year, it is not very cost-efficient. Heat emission during surgeries can have negative effects on patients and healthcare workers, especially during extended surgeries. As always, decreasing the risk of infection during surgery is always a top priority. 

Surgical Light Brightness 

It may not be the only factor to consider, but brightness is an essential factor when choosing the best surgical lights.

If a surgical light is too bright, it may cause glares, hindering the surgeon’s vision during a procedure. In contrast, if the light is too dim, they will not see properly to do the procedure. This will lead to even more frequent adjustments. 

How do you choose the proper brightness? The brightness, or intensity of light, is measured in units called LUX. 

Lights that only produce 40,000 LUX or under are not effective enough to use for surgical lighting standards. Most surgical lights produce 160,000 LUX, which seems to produce enough light for surgery, but not too much. 

Crucial Lifespan of Surgical Lights

The lifespan of surgical lights is a crucial aspect to consider when shopping around for surgery lights.  

Just think, you would not want to change a light bulb or have a light go out during critical surgery. That would take valuable time and focus away from the patient, leading to poor patient outcomes.

When researching your investment look for lights with a lifespan of about 40,000 to 60,000 hours of use. 

Heat Emission

There are several reasons to consider how much heat is being produced by surgical lights when researching and purchasing. Three reasons to consider heat emission include: 

  1. Effects on the patient
  2. Surgery staff safety 
  3. Risk of fire and burns

When looking to purchase surgical lights look for LED lights over halogen lights. LED lights are superior to halogen lights because LED lights produce less heat than halogen lights. 

Effects On The Patient

The high heat from surgical lighting proposes several risks to patient safety and surgical outcomes. 

When surgical and exam lights produce high temperatures, the heat can dry out sensitive tissues even during short procedures. Putting the body’s tissues under high heat for a potentially long time depending on the surgery can negatively affect surgical outcomes. 

Surgery Staff Safety

When you consider that typical open-heart surgery can take up to 6 hours to perform, you can think about the strain on the surgery staff that must stay focused and standing for that long. 

Now imagine standing for those 6 hours under hot surgical lights wearing all the personal protective equipment required. This extra heat during a long time can be uncomfortable, distracting, and even cause health concerns such as overheating for the surgical staff. 

Risk of Fire and Burns

The OR is especially hazardous if a fire were to happen. The OR is a dangerous place for a fire because there is a lot of oxygen in the OR for patients undergoing surgery. Having surgical lights that limit the amount of heat produced is one way to help reduce fire from occurring in the OR.

If surgical lights produce too much heat and get too hot, it can cause burns to the patient during the surgical procedure or to the surgical staff when making adjustments. 

Infection Control 

Operating rooms are known to be a sterile area, and rightful so, there is a high risk of infection from surgery, leading to poor patient outcomes. Did you know even surgical lights played a role in infection control? 

Looking back on heat emissions, the heat from lights can interfere with the precise laminate airflow needed in the OR. The OR uses specific laminate airflow so that there is a decrease in bacteria in the air going to the surgical field. If there is too much heat produced from the surgical lights, there is a higher risk of getting an infection from surgery. 

It is also important that surgical lights can use handle covers. Handle covers allow the surgeon to adjust the surgical light without breaking a sterile environment. 

Sterile disposable surgical light handle covers work better in decreasing bacteria than non-disposable surgical light handle covers. According to Infection Control Today, 29.5% of reusable devices still showed bacteria and pathogens present even after sterilization. 

Optimize Your OR With Perfect Surgical Lighting

Choosing surgical lighting is a crucial aspect to decide, especially since it affects patient safety. When looking to purchase, make sure you consider the intensity, lifespan, heat emission, and infection control measures. 

If you are looking for surgical lighting, consider reliable and effective surgical light options from Infinium Medical.


surgical lights in the operating room


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