Why? There are no places in a regulated place of employment where an individual routinely stands for 5-7 hours with no breaks performing very difficult and life threatening work. In the operating room, the anesthesiologists, CRNAs, scrub nurses, circulators, radiology technicians all take breaks and most are able to sit while the surgeon stands from start to finish on a hard floor often bending over a table to complete his/her task.
In this article, 100 laparoscopic renal procedures were randomized to use of a foot gel pad (Gelpro, Austin, TX) or standard conditions (i.e. no gel pad). The mat was 20 x 60 inches in size and cost around $200. The questionnaires were completed by 18 different physicians (attendings, residents, fellows) involved in the procedures with a mean surgical experience of 7 years; the questionnaires were completed before, immediately after, and 24 hours after the surgery. In all categories the gel pad provided improved outcomes with regard to: fewer breaks taken, foot pain, knee pain, back discomfort, overall discomfort and fatigue. At 24 hours, foot pain and overall amount of discomfort were still statistically significantly in favor of use of the gel pad. However, use of the gel pad did not result in statistically shorter operating room time and there was no information with regard to patient outcomes (e.g. intraoperative/postoperative complications or hospital stay).
The authors have nicely shown that an inexpensive non-disposable gel foot pad works as well in the operating room as it does on an assembly line. Hopefully more people will take note of this manuscript and bring gel pads into the operating room to aid the surgical staff. At $200, it is a small price to pay for a more comfortable, less fatigued surgical staff.
Haramis G, Rosales JC, Palacios JM, Okhunov Z, Mues AC, Lee D, Badani K, Gupta M, Landman J
Urology. 2010 Dec;76(6):1405-8