An important part of your duties as an operating room specialist is your ability to communicate with the professional staff in the operating room, other operating room specialists, and the support staff for the operating room. Understanding the use and meaning of terminology used within the operating room is an important part of this sub course. Some of the words listed in the following paragraphs have been defined in previous sub courses, but are included to refresh your operating room vocabulary.
1. Anesthesia. General or local insensibility to pain and other sensation induced by certain drugs.
2. Anesthetist. One who administers anesthetics. This person may be a nurse anesthetist or a physician anesthesiologist.
3. Antisepsis. The prevention of sepsis by the exclusion, destruction, or inhibition of growth or multiplication of microorganisms from body tissues and fluids.
4. Antiseptics. Chemical agents that fight sepsis by inhibiting growth of microorganisms without necessarily killing them; used only on living tissue.
5. Asepsis. The absence of microorganisms that cause diseases.
6. Aseptic Technique. The method by which contamination with microorganisms is prevented. Also called "sterile technique." g. Autoclave. A sterilizing apparatus that uses saturated steam under pressure.
7. Bacteria. One category of microorganisms. Microorganisms are of great concern to hospital personnel because they are difficult to destroy and produce many different diseases.
8. Bagged. Method of enclosing supplies and equipment. This may be done by plastic or paper to prevent the spread of infection or to maintain sterility.
9. Circulator. The technician on the operating room team who functions outside of the sterile field during surgery.
10. Contaminated. Soiled with microorganisms.
11. Cross Contamination. Transmission of microorganisms from patient to patient and from contaminated objects to patients and vice versa.
12. Detergent. A cleansing agent that facilitates removal of grease or soil. A suitable detergent must be selected; it must clean but not injure the surface of the article.
13. Disease. A condition in which there is incorrect or poor functioning of any part, organ, or system of the body.
14. Disinfectant. An agent that kills all growing forms of microorganisms, thus completely eliminating them from objects; used only on inanimate objects.
15. Disinfection. The chemical or physical process of destroying all pathogenic microorganisms except spore-bearing ones. Disinfectants are used on objects--not on tissue.
16. Disposables. Commercially prepackaged, usually pre-sterilized items, designed for one-time use.
17. Draping. The procedure of covering the patient and surrounding areas with a sterile barrier to create and maintain an adequate sterile field during an operation. Drapes include towels and sheets and may be disposable.
18. Germ. A common term for a microscopic or submicroscopic organism capable of producing disease.
19. Hopper. A large utility sink equipped with a flushing device. Used to dispose of contaminated waste.
20. Infection. Invasion of the body by pathogenic microorganisms and the reaction of tissues to their presence.
21. Microorganisms. Living organisms that cannot be seen with the naked eye, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, yeasts, and molds; also called "microbial life."
22. Procedure. A particular way of doing something; a series of steps followed in a definite order; a traditional way of doing things.
23. Process. A series of procedures designed to prepare supplies and equipment for use in giving patient care.
24. Principle. The basis upon which the correct way of doing something is determined. A reference to the principles or procedures that leads to the right way of doing something.
25. Sanitation. A process whereby microorganisms present on an object are reduced in number to a level considered safe for human use.
26. Sanitizer. An apparatus employing a sanitizing agent such as hot water, steam, or chemicals.
27. Scrub. The technician on the operating room team who scrubs, dons sterile gown and gloves, and functions within the sterile area.
28. Sepsis. Invasion of the body by pyrogenic microorganisms.
29. Sponge. A sterile surgical dressing of absorbent material for wiping or absorbing blood or other fluids during an operation.
30. Sponge, Radiopaque. This type of sponge has multiple layers of absorbent gauze with a radiopaque thread sewn in. It is used to control bleeding during all types of surgery.
31. Sterile. Free of microorganisms (bacterial, spores, and germs invisible to the naked eye).
32. Sterile Field. The area of the operating room that immediately surrounds and is especially prepared for the patient. To establish the sterile field, all items needed for the operation are sterilized and only sterile team members function within the sterile area.
33. Sterilizer. Apparatus using saturated steam under pressure, ethylene oxide, or dry heat as the sterilizing agent. These include gravity and mechanical types.
34. Sterilization. The process by which all pathogenic and nonpathogenic microorganisms, including spores, are killed.
35. Surgical Procedure. A set of steps by which a desired result is accomplished by surgery, which is the treatment of diseases and injuries by manual or operative methods.
36. Surgical Team or Operating Room Team. Surgeon, one or more assistant surgeons, a scrub nurse or technician, an anesthetist, and a circulating nurse or technician makes up the surgical team.
37. Surgical Needles. Surgical needles are straight or curved needles used to safely carry suture material through tissue with the least amount of effort. Needles must also be sterile.
38. Surgically Clean. Mechanically or physically cleaned, but unsterile. Items are rendered surgically clean by the use of chemical, physical, or mechanical means that reduce the number of microorganisms on them.
39. Suture (verb). Suturing is the act of sewing by bringing tissues together and holding them until healing has taken place.
40. Suture (noun). A suture is any strand of material used to sew tissue together. Suturing material must be sterile. Ligature is a strand of suture material used to "tie off" or seal blood vessels to prevent bleeding.
41. Suture Card or Surgeon"s Preference Card. This card lists the surgeon"s usual suture and needle routine by tissue layer and preference for instrument equipment and position of patient.
42. Terminal Sterilization and Disinfection. The procedures carried out for the destruction of pathogens on instruments and supplies before they are handled for complete cleaning and checked for proper functioning. Terminal sterilization is often done by the using unit to protect personnel handling the items.