Highland Hospital First to Use New OR Device Invented by One of Its Own
May 01, 2012
Tamra West, RN, Demonstrates Her Invention
Highland Hospital is the first to use a new product invented for the operating room. Tamra West, RNFA, a Highland operating room nurse, invented the AliMed® Trendelenburg Positioner to improve on traditional techniques for securing a patient on the OR table during surgery.
"I saw an opportunity to develop a more effective device that would keep patients in place on the OR table when the surgery required the patient to be at an incline," said West, Highland's Robotic Team First Assistant and 22-year veteran of the OR. "This device keeps patients in a fixed position without putting too much pressure on the patient's shoulders, arms or chest."
West spent the past four years developing a prototype, applying for a patent and working with AliMed to create the final product and demonstrate how the device works.
Named for the surgical position in which a patient is flat on their back with their feet higher than their head by up to 45 degrees, the Trendelenburg Positioner is designed to prevent patients from sliding during procedures. The device increases friction between the patient and the OR table. Crisscross straps over the chest hold the patient in place without putting excessive strain on the shoulders, and protective foam is wrapped around the patient's arms and placed over the chest to ensure comfort.
The need for this type of device has increased as obesity has become more prevalent in the patient population. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the Trendelenburg Positioner for patients up to 400 pounds.
New technology utilizing extreme positioning to facilitate visualization - such as the da Vinci (robotic) Surgical System - also has presented a need for this device. Gynecologic oncologists, gynecologists, colorectal surgeons and urologists at Highland use robotics regularly to perform minimally invasive surgeries that require patients to be in the Trendelenburg position. The positioner will also be used in traditional laparoscopic gynecologic and colorectal cases.
"Doctors have come up to me every day asking when this device will be available," West said. "From a patient-safety standpoint, they're really enthusiastic about it."