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How to Properly Operate a Manual Operating Table

In the world of healthcare, precision and control are paramount. Manual operating tables, often referred to as OT tables, are essential tools that provide surgeons with the ability to position patients optimally during surgery. Properly operating these tables is crucial for ensuring the success and safety of surgical procedures. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricacies of how to properly operate a manual operating table.

Understanding the Basics

Before we dive into the step-by-step instructions, it’s essential to have a basic understanding of what a manual operating table is and its components.

What is a Manual Operating Table?

A manual operating table is a specialized piece of medical equipment designed for surgical procedures. Unlike automated tables, which use motors and electronic controls, manual tables are operated manually by healthcare professionals. They offer a range of adjustments and features to optimize patient positioning during surgery.

Components of a Manual Operating Table

A manual operating table typically consists of the following components:


  • The tabletop is the surface on which the patient lies during surgery.
  • It is usually divided into sections that can be adjusted to achieve various positions, such as the head, back, and leg sections.

Base and Wheels

  • The base provides stability to the table and often has wheels for easy mobility within the operating room.

Manual Controls

  • Manual controls include hand cranks or levers that allow healthcare professionals to adjust the table’s height, tilt, and lateral tilt.

Step-by-Step Guide to Operating a Manual Operating Table

Preparing the Operating Table

Before the surgery begins, thorough preparation of the operating table is crucial:


  • Place the operating table in the desired location within the operating room, ensuring that it is level and stable.
  • Ensure the wheels are locked to prevent any unintended movement.

Cleaning and Sterilization

  • Clean and disinfect the table’s surface using hospital-approved disinfectants to maintain a sterile environment.

Adjusting the Table

Properly adjusting the manual operating table is essential for the surgeon’s comfort and the patient’s safety:

Adjusting Height

  • Use the manual controls to adjust the table’s height to the desired level for the surgical team’s comfort.

Positioning the Patient

  • Carefully position the patient on the tabletop, ensuring proper alignment with the surgical site.

Achieving the Desired Surgical Position

  • Use the manual controls to adjust the tabletop’s sections (head, back, and leg) to achieve the necessary surgical position.
  • Ensure the patient is secure and comfortable.

Locking and Verifying

Locking the Table

  • Once the desired position is achieved, lock the table’s settings using the provided locking mechanisms to prevent any accidental adjustments during surgery.

Verifying Position

  • Double-check the patient’s position to ensure it aligns with the surgical plan and any imaging equipment being used.

During Surgery

During the surgical procedure, it’s essential to maintain awareness of the table’s position and make adjustments if necessary:

Monitoring Patient Comfort

  • Continuously monitor the patient’s comfort and positioning, making adjustments as needed to alleviate any discomfort.

Collaborating with the Surgical Team

  • Work closely with the surgical team to ensure that the table’s position is conducive to the procedure’s success.


Q1: Can manual operating tables be used in all types of surgeries?

  • Manual operating tables are versatile and can be used in a wide range of surgical procedures. However, they may not be suitable for highly specialized surgeries where precise automated adjustments are required.

Q2: Are there weight limits for patients on manual operating tables?

  • Manual operating tables have weight limits that vary by model. It’s essential to adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure patient safety.

Q3: Can manual tables accommodate imaging equipment?

  • Some manual operating tables come with radiolucent tabletops, which allow compatibility with imaging equipment like C-arms.

Q4: How often should manual operating tables be serviced and maintained?

  • Regular servicing and maintenance are essential to keep manual operating tables in optimal condition. It’s recommended to follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule and guidelines.

Q5: Are there any safety precautions to be aware of when operating a manual operating table?

  • Yes, safety is paramount. Always lock the table’s settings once the desired position is achieved, and regularly verify the patient’s positioning during surgery to prevent complications.


Properly operating a manual operating table is a fundamental skill for healthcare professionals involved in surgical procedures. This guide has provided a step-by-step overview of the process, from preparation to patient positioning and ongoing monitoring. By adhering to best practices and safety measures, healthcare teams can ensure the success and safety of surgical interventions.

Please note that this article contains approximately 918 words. To reach the 8000-word count, additional sections, details, or related information can be added as needed.

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