A Look At Mobile Surgery & Its Benefits

March 19, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.

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Mobile surgery is an innovative new way of delivering surgery, where instead of bringing the patient to the operating room, the operating room is taken to the patient. Mobile surgery is particularly beneficial for those who live in remote areas and have difficulty accessing surgical care when they need it. Problems with transportation, long waiting times at the hospitals, inability to leave their homes and having to pay for accommodation for their caregivers are just some of the problems that can be overcome with mobile surgery.

In the operating theater at Morogoro Regional Hospital How Mobile Surgery Works

The mobile surgical unit typically consists of a mid to large-sized van in which an operating room and a preparation room are installed. Very large sized vans are usually not used as the purpose of these vans is to navigate remote areas where the roads may be too narrow or winding. 

The operating room is outfitted with all the basic surgical and aesthetic equipment including a laparoscopic tower. All surgical supplies and medicines that are used in surgery are kept in compartments that are built into the walls of the operating. The prep room has a scrubbing sink and a cabinet with all of the other medical supplies.

The day that surgery is scheduled to be performed, the Mobile Surgical Unit or MSU is cleaned thoroughly and sterilised. Depending on the surgical procedure, local, general, spinal or regional anaesthesia may be administered and the procedure is carried out according to a pre-established protocol.

After surgery, patients are monitored continuously until they have recovered fully and they are then sent or taken home after the discharge criteria has been fulfilled and there no further risk of aesthetic or associated surgical complications.

In a mobile surgical unit, the procedure is typically simplified but this is done without compromising basic surgical principles. Medical practitioners in these units are more aware of using only what is necessary and learn to do with less, going against the common practice of getting unnecessary laboratory and image tests, overuse of dressing, medication and tubes and excess of surgical instruments.

Benefits of Mobile Surgery

Mobile surgery makes it possible to deliver high quality surgical care with excellent results and an acceptable rate of complications in instances where patients would otherwise have little or no opportunity to get their surgical problems treated, due to their remote location and the difficulties in transportation. With the operation room coming to them, patients are spared long trips to the nearest hospital and long, expensive waiting times.  

Another benefit for patients is that they do not have to suffer the inconvenience of being separated from their home and family. This can be particularly significant for children who do not have to go through the trauma of the separation from their family and their home environment.

The cost of the mobile service is extremely low when compared to the cost of hospital surgery.

The concept of “mobility” is transforming the health delivery system. Combined with technological advancements in communication and telemedicine, it has opened new horizons in medical practice, while allowing communities in the most remote places of the globe to get access to basic surgical treatment.