• Ease of access, including doors of sufficient width to facilitate movement of equipment.

  • Sufficient space for staging and maneuvering of equipment.

  • Provision for safe bedding disposal and prewashing activities.

  • Traffic flow that separates animals and equipment moving between clean and soiled areas.

  • Insulation of walls and ceilings where necessary.

  • Sound attenuation.

  • Utilities, such as hot and cold water, steam, floor drains, and electric power.

  • Ventilation, including installation of vents and provision for dissipation of steam and fumes from sanitizing processes.


The design of a surgical facility should accommodate the species to be operated on and the complexity of the procedures to be performed (Hessler 1991; see also Appendix A, "Design and Construction of Animal Facilities"). For most rodent surgery, a facility may be small and simple, such as a dedicated space in a laboratory appropriately managed to minimize contamination from other activities in the room during surgery. The facility often becomes larger and more complex as the number of animals, the size of animals, or the complexity of procedures increases, for instance, large-volume rodent procedures, the need for special restraint devices, hydraulic operating tables, and floor drains for farm animal surgery, and procedures that require large surgical teams and support equipment and thus large space. The relationship of surgical facilities to diagnostic laboratories, radiology facilities, animal housing, staff offices, and so on should be considered in the overall context of the complexity of the surgical program. Surgical facilities should be sufficiently separate from other areas to minimize unnecessary traffic and decrease the potential for contamination (Humphreys 1993). Centralized facilities provide important advantages in cost savings in equipment, conservation of space and personnel resources, reduced transit of animals, and enhanced professional oversight of facilities and procedures.

For most surgical programs, functional components of aseptic surgery include surgical support, animal preparation, surgeon's scrub, operating room, and postoperative recovery. The areas that support those functions should be designed to minimize traffic flow and separate the related, nonsurgical activities from the surgical procedure in the operating room. The separation is best achieved by physical barriers (AORN 1982) but might also be achieved by distance between areas or by the timing of appropriate cleaning and disinfection between activities. The number of personnel and their level of activity have been shown to be directly related to the level of bacterial contamination and the incidence of

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