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Operating Room Setup and Workflow

Last Updated: February 18, 2020

The organization of the operating room has undergone a dramatic evolution since the early history of our discipline.

Figure 1: The young Harvey Cushing and his operating room at Johns Hopkins, circa ~1908 (upper image). At the peak of his career, in August 1929, Cushing performed an operation for visiting Professor I.P. Pavlov (lower image)(photos courtesy of the Cushing Brain Tumor Registry at Yale University).

The surgeon is “the captain of the ship” and responsible for all the actions of the individuals and the workflow in the operating room. This responsibility demands a leader who leads by example. The factor that distinguishes great from average surgeons is the ability of the former to succeed in the face of adversity, t...