enhance energy efficiency and sustainability in their products, processes,
and manufacturing across the globe.
The Rise Of LED
Incandescent, halogen-style bulbs with fiber-optic cables were long
the standard for surgical lighting products. However, lighting providers weren’t satisfied. Over time, they addressed the fact that these lights
needed to be replaced on a regular basis, were inefficient, and gave off a
considerable amount of heat.
The last 15 years have seen technology change so much and so quickly, that what’s now the standard in most operating rooms is completely
different from those traditional lighting offerings.
LED lights really came into their own about five years ago. Most lighting providers now offer their second-generation lights, which are more
or less updated and improved versions of the original design. They
serve to lower costs and increase efficiency, and they do not require the
bulb or fiber-optic cable to be replaced.
These offerings are designed to enhance and improve visualization
in the operating room. That means brighter, whiter light with minimal
heat generation. According to Donaldson, today’s lights reduce eye
strain due to color temperatures that match natural daylight of 6,500 K.
Furthermore, they add the added benefit of truer tissue color and contrast, low maintenance, and green technology.
“Superior lights offer industry-leading lumen performance estimated
at 50,000-plus hours of life and no heat generation,” says Donaldson.
“Operating costs are then reduced by up to 93 percent and maintenance
costs are reduced by almost 100 percent due to remarkable warranties
and no parts that can break or suffer from wear or tear.”
However, specifications and cost savings are just two critical factors.
Another is performance.
This ensures they can be used for interventional situations, while at the
same time meeting performance needs.
“The lighting is becoming a component of the complete visualization
in the operating room,” says Townsend.
Performance Is Everything
“Superior technology will marry up to performance specifica-
tions,” says James Townsend, manager, research and development, for
Bertchtold, a provider of surgical lights and other equipment. “It will
marry up with the mobility and reliability that’s expected of not only the
clinicians and the surgical staff, but also the administrators, purchasing
agents, and other individuals in the hospital. That’s really a key factor in
what makes up a good product versus just a sufficient product.”
Another key factor is how the light works in concert with other items
in the operating room. It’s not enough to have a high-performance light.
How will it conflict with other items in the room? Is the room set up
properly to maximize product performance? Perhaps most importantly,
how is the light positioned?
“When we’re doing trials or observations in the field, we’re always tak-
ing a look at how often the surgeons have to touch the light, how much
they actually have to maneuver the light,” says Townsend. “Once they’ve
positioned them correctly, assuming the patient is not moving, a good
light shouldn’t have to be repositioned constantly. It should be providing
the right light at the right spot.”
While surgical lights remain the preeminent centerpiece of the operat-
ing room, they have to be built around some of the other critical systems.
Working In Concert
How surgical lighting reacts with new technology in hybrid and
integrated operation rooms will determine just how it will evolve in the
future. Surgical headlights and portable exam lights that operate on
rechargeable batteries that can attach to the surgeon’s belt or on a portable stand (as opposed to their head) can allow them and their assistants
to move freely without being tethered to a stationary light source. This is
just one way providers are finding ways to improve offerings.
While the future is uncertain in terms of continued product development, it seems safe to say the efficiency and longevity of the product will
I think that LED technology is always evolving,” says Townsend “It’s
not a new technology, but its application in surgical lighting is newer.
There’s this constant push toward higher efficiency that also echoes well
with what hospitals are pursuing to lower operating costs and to ensure
they are meeting green certifications.
“An LED with 50,000-plus hours of use is a buy-and-forget proposition,” he continues. “With little maintenance or preventative maintenance, it will provide 10-years-plus of continuous, uninterrupted, non-performance-degrading use. That will only get better."