Merck Manual

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In the Operating Room

In the Operating Room

The operating room provides a sterile environment in which the operating team can do surgery. The operating team consists of the following:

  • Chief surgeon: Directs the surgery

  • One or more assistant surgeons: Help the chief surgeon

  • Anesthesiologist: Controls the supply of anesthetic and monitors the person closely

  • Scrub nurse: Passes instruments to the surgeons

  • Circulating nurse: Provides extra equipment to the operating team

The operating room typically contains a monitor that displays vital signs, an instrument table, and an operating lamp. Anesthetic gases are piped into the anesthetic machine. A catheter attached to a suction machine removes excess blood and other fluids, which can prevent surgeons from seeing the tissues clearly. Fluids given by vein, started before the person enters the operating room, are continued.

In the Operating Room