Having sold surgery tables since 1981, one of the most common questions we’ve been asked here at Meditek is:
“How much does a general surgery table cost?”
Our intent with this article is to give a clear answer, but the truth is that the cost of a surgery table for your operating room or minor procedure room depends a lot on how you answer the questions that follow below.
Because there are many brands of surgical tables available on the Canadian market, all with varying degrees of features, manufacturing quality and specifications, the price range of a general surgery table can go from the extreme of your basic manual table for $20,000 to a high-end table at $70,000 for complex surgical procedures.
Essentially, we are talking about tens of thousands of dollars difference.
Considerations for Purchasing General-Purpose Surgery Tables?
First, we will identify the standard general-purpose surgery tables, which will allow us to dive deeper into specific procedures.
Is the table for acute care, ambulatory care or bariatric?
Do you work in an area where patients stay overnight, or do you work in outpatient where patients have minor procedures and are discharged in the same day?
Have you recently calculated the average weight of your patients?
Do you need a table that can handle patients over 250 lbs or over 500 lbs?
For lighter patients, you might consider a Skytron 1602 or 3502 surgical table, but for bariatric patients, a Skytron 6702 surgical table would be better.
Now think about the procedures you perform. Look at the list below to identify procedures that you may need to accommodate. Keep in mind that not all tables will offer all of these options.
Coupled with the above questions is the location of the table.
Where is the table going?
Is it going to a private surgery center; into a Hybrid OR; or maybe a minor procedure room?
How many procedures do you perform weekly, monthly or yearly?
Are you a private surgery center that has a moderate caseload, or are you a public Canadian hospital that spews out cases faster than “The Fastest Surgeon of the 19th Century”?
What Procedures/Operations Will Be Performed On The Surgery Table?
Since we are talking about buying new surgical tables, it should be safe to assume that the table will be electric-powered but that it may not necessarily come with a battery backup.
While power failures are rare, they do happen.
For the procedures you are doing, are you able to continue the procedure should power to the table be lost?
For the shear level of comfort of having a battery backup, this is a feature well worth considering as fundamental.
Knowing what procedures you will perform, how confident are you that the table will not have to move location with the patient on it?
Does your work dictate that the table will be stationary, or do you foresee the need to have it mobile?
If you are planning on having to move the table, would it make sense to have a drive feature, such as the Stryker Operon D Series surgical tables?
This may be one of those ‘not really needed’ options that will make your table more expensive.
What Kind Of Movement Will Your Surgery Table Require?
Now here are some premium features that may be of major importance or of no consequence at all, depending on which procedures you are performing.
- Removable back and leg sections
- Back lit hand pendant control
- Kidney Elevator
- Return to level
- Top slide
- Manual override controls
Is The Surgery Table’s Height Of Importance?
How low or high does your table need to go?
Are you the practitioner, or are there numerous people of varying height that are going to use the table?
Some tables can go as low as 24”, whereas the average seems to be 27”.
A bit of an anomaly, the Maquet Alphastar has a low-height version that boasts 23″, whereas the Maquet Alphamaxx is not too far behind with 23.6″.
The average height range is usually somewhere between 37” and 44”. If you are the sole user, chances are that you can get away with a table that has a smaller height range.
Is The Surgery Table’s Composition Important To You?
Buying an operating table is a huge deal.
These tables cost a lot of money and are intended to last for many years.
Imagine spending a small fortune on a table just to have it rust out within 5 years.
Don’t forget about the abuse the tables take with other instruments and equipment crashing into them.
As nonsensical as it seems, what the table is made of is extremely important.
Is it mostly stainless steel, or is it half steel and half composite? If it’s stainless steel, what is the grade or type?
This is the one example of where spending more money initially may pay off in the end.
A few more thousand up front may result in using your table for an extra 5 years.
While asking if the table comes with a mattress or cushions may be seemingly obvious, it’s always a good idea to confirm.
But going a step further, you should confirm not only that the mattress is included but also what quality it is and the thickness.
Are you getting a standard entry-level mattress, or are you getting a premium memory foam mattress?
The difference may be an added cost in a few months that you didn’t plan on.
The Administrative Side of Purchasing an Operating Table
Up until now, we have discussed the clinical side of what needs to be considered when buying a surgical table.
But just as important, if not more, is the other side of the purchase which pertains to warranty, preventive maintenance, shipping and handling, training, etc.
Warranty – What Is Included And For How Long
Getting a good warranty is very important for any purchase, especially one as expensive as a new surgery table.
When discussing the warranty, here are a few things to consider:
- How long is the warranty for?
- Is it a limited warranty? If so, which parts of the warranty are limited?
- What is included in the warranty? Is it parts and labour; parts only; or, labour only?
- Are there any parts that are not directly included in the warranty, whether it be limited or not?
- Is there a limit on the cost of parts and or labour that is covered?
The coverage and length of the warranty will greatly affect costs down the road, and spending more initially may benefit you, in the long run, should something happen.
Make sure to inquire about the cost of extended warranties.
Buying a high-quality table is one thing, but having the confidence that it is going to be looked after in the case of a breakdown brings peace of mind, which may not be measurable at the time of purchase.
Post Warranty Paralysis
At some point in the lifecycle of the table, the warranty, and extended warranty if you bought it, is going to run out.
One thing most people never check is what the table costs to own and maintain when nothing is covered.
Think of it as buying a car in Canada. If you go with a common domestic model, parts and labour are going to be cheaper than if you buy an uncommon foreign vehicle.
With tables, some are going to have more expensive parts and be more complicated to work on, hence a higher hourly service rate and more service hours.
Careful consideration now may mean the difference between fixing your table after the warranty runs out and buying a new one.
Preventive Maintenance and Required Maintenance
As a value-added service, some manufacturers and distributors may include a preventive maintenance package with the purchase of your new OR table.
Others may charge a small fee, while some may not even offer it as a service.
Every table comes with OEM guidelines for when a table should be serviced and what should be done.
Ask yourself if you are spending an additional $500 per year or $1500 per year on required maintenance upkeep, as over the lifetime of the table, that could amount to several thousand dollars.
Where Will The Surgery Table Be Delivered? The Dock Or The Operating Room?
When you think of getting something shipped to you, most often, you automatically assume that once you make the purchase, the next time you see the product it will be at its final destination, whether that is in your hands or in the designated operating room.
Now imagine your frustration and disappointment when your table arrives at the loading dock, and it isn’t taken directly to its final destination.
This is a very unnecessary thing to happen.
It will make everything more complicated and time-consuming as you have to make new arrangements, disrupt the schedules of others and contact your supplier about what happened.
Avoid all of this by making sure that the table gets delivered to where you want it.
Some vendors may charge you extra for taking it to its final destination, so make sure to confirm that there is or is not an extra charge.
Assuming that the table goes directly to the OR, who is going to uncrate it and what happens to the shipping materials?
Check your arrangement to make sure that these things are spelled out clearly as to who is responsible for doing what.
Uncrating and disposing of shipping materials may add a small cost to your final purchase price.
Other FAQ for Buying a Surgical Table
With so many variables affecting the final price, here are a few more that you should be asking every potential vendor.
- Is there a discount for volume purchases?
- How much is shipping going to cost?
- What are the payment terms, such as net days, early payment discount, rebates, etc.?
- Is there a trial period available?
- Is there a trade in credit available for existing equipment you may have?
- Do you require training? Is it included in the price? Is factory training included? What about manuals, videos, etc.?
To Accessorize or Not to Accessorize, that is the Question
The final part of determining how much a new surgical table is going to cost you is figuring out if you want just the table, or if you need new accessories as well to perform your procedures.
A big part of the answer to this question is if your old accessories are compatible with the new table you are buying.
This simple question may result in saving you thousands of dollars.
Here is a list of some of the more common accessories for general surgical tables:
Putting it all Together
Now that we have outlined all of the factors affecting the final price of a surgical table, let’s take a look at what a new surgical table costs.
Remembering that you can get a ‘bare bones’ type table or one with all the bells and whistles, one thing we have to agree on is that there is a bit of an extreme when it comes to price.
For a simple, basic surgical table, the price can range from $25,000 to $40,000.
Again, this depends on the manufacturer and just how basic the table is.
When you start adding in all of the factors, a $25,000 table might actually have a final cost of $40,000.
The less you want or need, the less you are going to spend and vice versa.
For a table that has some intermediate features and is a little more durable and functional, budget for between $40,000 and $55,000.
For a high-end, high weight capacity table, expect a price around $55,000 to $70,000.
When accounting for whichever variables you choose, the average price of $47,000 may end up being significantly more.
Having been a provider of medical equipment to Canadian healthcare facilities since 1981, we take our work personally.
Throughout the decades, we have not only remanufactured all brands of tables but also supplied many new tables.
Thank you for this thorough article! A question I have is, who is the author? I would love to know what sources were used for the information displayed so that I can continue to research.
Barret Davies was the author. We are not an academic resource, but a general resource for the public. If you have any other questions, please let us know.
Thanks for contacting Meditek.