Home >  News >  April, 2010

Study: OR Floor Mats Reduce Foot Fatigue and Discomfort

Gel mats reduce pain and fatigue during long days in the OR, say Columbia researchers.

Published: April 5, 2010

Gel-filled floormats used in kitchens and elsewhere around the house can reduce the fatigue and discomfort that surgical teams feel during a long day of standing and leaning in the operating room, according to researchers at the Columbia University School of Medicine.

In a randomized control study, researchers lead by Jaime Landman, MD, director of minimally invasive urology, surveyed an 18-member surgical team after 100 laparoscopic urologic procedures. Half of the procedures were performed with the team standing on mats and half on the regular flooring. The mats were filled with shock-absorbing gel and a covering coated with antimicrobial additives.

Overall, the team members experienced less pain, discomfort and fatigue when the mats were on the floor, say the researchers, who published the results of their study online last month in the journal Urology.

Dr. Landman says he found out about mats by accident about 2 years ago as he was walking between buildings at the Columbia University Medical Center in Manhattan. At the time his feet were hurting from plantar fasciitis as a result of his running regimen. Construction contractors had installed the gel mats on the sidewalk to cover some electric lines. "When I stepped on the mat, my feet stopped hurting," says Dr. Landman. He then contacted the manufacturer, which donated the mats for the study.

The surgical team has been using the same mats for several months now. After each case, they're cleaned with the same products used to clean the floor, says Dr. Landman.

The mats cost about $200 for a 20-inch-by-72-inch version, according to the manufacturer. Dr. Landman says that the manufacturer is working on creating OR versions of mats. In the meantime, he says, the kitchen version works just fine. "Now, I won't operate without them."

Kent Steinriede

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