Introduction to the Operating Room

The operating room can be scary and intimidating. It is filled full of machines and equipment and even the people in the operating room wear specialized clothes, hats, and masks. Everything in the operating room and everyone in the operating room serves a single purpose, to keep you safe. We keep the operating room stocked with machines and equipment that we often don’t need for any given surgery. It is there so that in an emergency we will be prepared to intervene quickly and efficiently. Please see operating room equipment for more information.

Most hospitals make an attempt to keep the LDR suites comfortable and patient friendly. An attempt is made to hide equipment and machines and to decorate like a nice hotel. This is not done in the operating room. Surgery is very safe but a big part of why it is so safe is that it is treated in a way to guard your safety. If sacrificing a comfortable environment is needed to ensure safety, that is what is done. Everything in the operating room is kept clean and sterile to minimize the risk of infection. The air flow, humidity, and temperature are all closely regulated to maximize the patients’ safety.

There will be many people in the operating room for a c-section. The anesthesiologist will be by your head. The surgeon will be on one side of the table with an assistant on the other side.  A scrub nurse will be at the table to hand instruments to the surgeon and assistant. A circulating nurse will be in the room to get what is needed for the scrub nurse and anesthesiologist. There will be a team from the nursery to accept and stabilize the baby after it is delivered. The entire team is there to serve you and your baby.

There will be a drape placed so that you will not be able to see the actual c-section. You will be able to see the baby after it is born and generally the baby will be brought to you after it is stabilized before the surgery is finished. Your partner will accompany the baby to the nursery as the c-section is completed. You will be reunited with your newborn in recovery.

I sometimes think of surgery like a team sport. A different set of social rules apply in the operating room than anywhere else. Just as different sets of rules exist in a sporting match than elsewhere. Everyone has his/her unique job and each is critical for the success of the surgery. Social interactions may seem different in the operating room. More than anywhere else in the hospital, a hierarchy exists that is important for the surgery to run smoothly. Don’t be surprised if you hear the surgeon and assistant talking socially about their kids, vacations, or even the news of the day. This means the surgery is going well.