You are visiting a website that is not intended for your region

The page or information you have requested is intended for an audience outside the United States. By continuing to browse you confirm that you are a non-US resident requesting access to this page or information.

Switch to the US site

Select Your Country or Region
Optimizing Patient Positioning in the OR

Patient positioning


Optimizing Patient Positioning in the OR

At a glance, check the 6 surgical positions and watch 5 videos on patient positioning examples. Pick the one that fits your discipline. 

Optimal positioning not only ensures the best possible access to the surgical site, but also prevents long-term consequences such as nerve damage or pressure ulcers. These secondary complications can delay rehabilitation and recovery. Patients have better outcomes when hospitals can avoid these secondary consequences.

The right position for every type of surgery

General positioning at a glance

Each position presents its own benefits and challenges.

Maquet otesus operating table supine position

Supine position

Supine positioning is common for many surgical disciplines. Special attention should be given to leg positioning, ensuring that the knees and joints are not overstretched. The head and cervical spine should be relaxed. Careful arm placement can prevent nerve damage.

Maquet Otesus surgical table prone position

Prone position

Used during spine surgery, the thorax must be placed on a pad with a large opening; this allows the stomach and breast to follow the breath, and reduces intra-abdominal pressure. It is important to ensure that the blood vessels in the groin are not compressed. Knees should be bent slightly and well-padded. The head should be positioned so that the cervical spine is in a neutral position. Pillows with lateral cut-outs enable easy access for anesthesia tubes.

Maquet Otesus OR table lateral position

Lateral position

In lateral positioning, the patient must be secured to prevent rolling. Good padding for the legs and heels is recommended to relieve stress. The patient can be positioned on the motorized joints of the table top to give optimum access to the thorax or kidney area. Best practice recommends using a pillow that offers space for the ear.

Maquet Otesus operating table Dorsosacral position Lithotomy position for best patient positioning

Dorsosacral position / Lithotomy position

Ideal positioning for gynecology and urology surgery requires that the pelvis is positioned to prevent a hollow back (lordosis) and to provide the largest possible supporting surface of the calf in the knee crutch. The popliteal fossa and heels should be freely positioned. The foot and knee should be positioned in line with the opposite shoulder.

Maquet Otesus surgical table genucubital position and knee elbow position

Genucubital position / Knee elbow position

For gynecological or rectal surgery, patients are anesthetized in supine position, and then repositioned into a Trendelenburg position for surgery to prevent sliding. Positioning aids play an important role in this position. The thorax must be placed on a pad with a large opening to reduce intra-abdominal pressure and aid breathing. Protect the patella with a gel pad, and use additional padding at the hip.

Maquet Otesus surgical table beach chair position

Beach chair position

The legs and knees should be relaxed and not overstretched. Raise the front and back stepwise, alternating between the two to reduce shear and friction forces. Once the patient has been placed into the sitting position, again assess the patient’s position to eliminate any forces that might have arisen during the positioning process.

Patient positioning examples according to discipline

Maximize access and minimize risk in general surgery

Surgical teams should always choose a position that maximizes surgical site access while minimizing the risk of complications. The positioning guide provides illustrative examples of what have been found to be the most suitable and effective positions.

Effective positioning for gynecological and urological surgery

The proper table position and complementary accessories improve access for gynecological and urological positions. Download our guide to effective positioning that optimizes access while minimizing patient strain.

Secure patient positioning in ophthalmology, ENT, oral and facial surgery

Optimize access to the patient’s head while minimizing the risk of complications. Our patient positioning guide provides illustrative examples of the most suitable positions for ophthalmology, ENT, oral, and facial surgeries.


Stable positioning in neurosurgery

Neurosurgery requires precise positioning for unobscured access. The positioning guide illustrates the most suitable and stable positions for neurosurgery.

Clear site access for orthopedics and traumatological surgery

Orthopedic and trauma surgeries need a broad, unobstructed view of the surgical site. Our patient positioning guide provides illustrative examples best practices in orthopedic patient positioning.

The right position for every type of surgery

Regardless of the surgical discipline, correct patient positioning improves site access and reduces patient complications. Explore more than 130 pages of patient positioning best practices in our comprehensive guide.

Download the full guide

Related articles

  • Operating Room

Why low-flow anesthesia?

Low-flow anesthesia offers pulmonary, economic and environmental benefits.

Læs mere

  • Operating Room

LMD - The future of OR lights

Shift your focus from the light to the procedure. Maintain optimum visual acuity and avoid difficulties in adapting to excessive variations in luminosity.

Læs mere

  • Operating Room

Brighter lighting isn't necessarily better

Most people have experienced the symptoms of visual fatigue: eyes that feel sore, itchy, or dry. Sometimes our bodies compensate by producing excess tears, causing visual impairment.

Læs mere

  • Operating Room

Road map to Hybrid suite

Optimizing the planning process for designing and commissioning the single-discipline, multidisciplinary and multi-modality Hybrid OR.

Læs mere

  • Operating Room

How connected medical devices raised uptime in the OR

For Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children in Northern Ireland, connected medical devices are an indispensable tool for improving operation planning.

Læs mere

  • Operating Room

Sevoflurane consumption in manual vs automatic gas control

AGC technology permits safe and convenient reduction of anesthetic waste by up to 58%

Læs mere