postoperative wound infection (Fitzgerald 1979). Traffic in the operating room itself can be reduced by the installation of an observation window, a communication system (such as an intercom system), and judicious location of doors.

Control of contamination and ease of cleaning should be key considerations in the design of a surgical facility. The interior surfaces should be constructed of materials that are monolithic and impervious to moisture. Ventilation systems supplying filtered air at positive pressure can reduce the risk of postoperative infection (Ayscue 1986; Bartley 1993; Bourdillon 1946; Schonholtz 1976). Careful location of air supply and exhaust ducts and appropriate room-ventilation rates are also recommended to minimize contamination (Ayliffe 1991; Bartley 1993; Holton and Ridgway 1993; Humphreys 1993). To facilitate cleaning, the operating rooms should have as little fixed equipment as possible (Schonholtz 1976; UFAW 1989). Other features of the operating room to consider include surgical lights to provide adequate illumination (Ayscue 1986), sufficient electric outlets for support equipment, and gas-scavenging capability.

The surgical-support area should be designed for washing and sterilizing instruments and for storing instruments and supplies. Autoclaves are commonly placed in this area. It is often desirable to have a large sink in the animal-preparation area to facilitate cleaning of the animal and the operative site. A dressing area should be provided for personnel to change into surgical attire; a multipurpose locker room can serve this function. There should be a scrub area for surgeons, equipped with foot, knee, or electric-eye surgical sinks (Knecht and others 1981). To minimize the potential for contamination of the surgical site by aerosols generated during scrubbing, the scrub area is usually outside the operating room.

A postoperative-recovery area should provide the physical environment to support the needs of the animal during the period of anesthetic and immediate postsurgical recovery and should be so placed as to allow adequate observation of the animal during this period. The electric and mechanical requirements of monitoring and support equipment should be considered. The type of caging and support equipment will depend on the species and types of procedures but should be designed to be easily cleaned and to support physiologic functions, such as thermoregulation and respiration. Depending on the circumstances, a postoperative recovery area for farm animals might be modified or nonexistent in some field situations, but precautions should be taken to minimize risk of injury to recovering animals.


AORN (Association of Operating Room Nurses). 1982. Recommended practices for traffic patterns in the surgical suite. Assoc. Oper. Room Nurs. J. 15(4):750-758.

ASHRAE (American Society of Heating. Refrigeration. and Air-Conditioning Engineers. Inc.). 1993. Chapter 24: Weather Data. In 1993 ASHRAE Handbook: Fundamentals. I-P edition. Atlanta: ASHRAE.

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