Back to Basics: Orthopedic Positioning

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Volume 107, Issue 3 - March 2018
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Back to Basics: Orthopedic Positioning


Orthopedic patients have unique needs related to safe positioning for surgery and often require the use of specialized tables and equipment. It can be challenging to position patients securely using specialty orthopedic positioning equipment while maintaining proper body alignment and preventing injury. Positioning patients is a team effort that involves the perioperative nurse, surgeon, anesthesia professional, and other personnel as needed (eg, first assistants, surgical technologists). This Back to Basics article addresses some of the challenges that perioperative RNs may face when positioning a patient for orthopedic surgery and offers guidance on how to position orthopedic patients safely in the supine, Fowler and semi-Fowler, hemilithotomy, lateral, and prone positions.

Key words: patient positioning, orthopedic surgery, orthopedic positioning, fracture table, compartment syndrome.