Choosing a surgical table for your operating room can be a daunting task with many factors to consider. A lot of times, it feels like comparing apples to apples.
One of the biggest factors is always price, as surgical tables are a major capital purchase.
There are a few other major influencers such as:
- technical specifications
- being the right fit for your needs (functionality)
Once your search begins, you will experience a lot of noise from general surgical table manufacturers and distributors, which makes it difficult to really tell the difference and hone in on which operating room table is appropriate for your facility?
Our goal is to give you the information you need in a non-biased and transparent way.
What we won’t do, however, is tell you that one brand or model is ‘better’ than the other because the ‘better’ surgical table for you depends on your needs.
We will, however, provide you with a comparison of technical specifications of the most popular general surgery tables, and a ‘best of’ snapshot of which brand or model does best in which technical specification.
Meditek is in an advantageous position to review without bias, as we are a distributor of many makes and models of surgical tables (new and remanufactured through our ReNew program) and not a manufacturer.
*Disclaimer: While the information in this article about surgical table manufacturers is publically available, there may be instances of limited inaccuracies as information can change over time.
Skytron General Surgical Tables
Skytron, considered to be the market leader in top slide and top rotation, has a wide range of surgical tables available from a basic OR table to a bariatric, heavy-duty table.
Other manufacturers will tell you that they also have top rotation, but beware:
Skytron tables are the only ones that truly rotate from the top of the table, as opposed to releasing the brakes and essentially turning the entire table while in operation.
The table base, throughout the models, is ergonomically designed for low profile that allows easy C-arm access.
The unique indented base design allows space for the OR team’s feet, so that they can stand right up close to the table with the comfort of having their feet placed under the table.
Low Cost of Ownership:
Skytron has always strived to make hospital equipment with the lowest cost of ownership. One of the ways they accomplish this is by reducing annual maintenance costs.
Studies over the years have shown that these models may be more expensive to purchase up front, comparatively to some, but with their reliability and simplistic overall design, the actual cost of ownership often ends up being lower.
Skytron 6700 Hercules Series
This bariatric series of tables includes the most recent 6702, in addition to the 6701 and 6700B.
All models have weight lift and articulation limits of over 1,000 lbs, as well as a low height at 23”, respectively.
While the 6700B goes 3” higher than its counterparts, the 6702 boasts an emergency shut off switch that is essential to patient safety.
The 6702 Hercules also showcases 210° top rotation and power beach chair positioning that allows for automatic, one-touch setup of shoulder procedures.
Skytron 6500 Series
A relatively older table, coming out in the early 90’s, the 6500 tables were originally considered bariatric tables.
At that time, the 6500 was considerably more advanced that most other tables on the market, as it featured Skytron’s exclusive 180° top rotation, removable leg section and the greatest height range.
Having a maximum weight capacity of 500 lbs, Skytron also offered an even more bariatric model, the 6500HD, which had a max weight limit of 850 lbs.
Skytron 6302 Elite
The 6302 can be considered a bariatric table, as the weight capacities are 1,000 lbs lift and 600 articulation, respectively.
Similar in many ways to the 6702, the 6302 is considered the less expensive relative.
This table also features 210° top rotation and power beach chair positioning.
Positioning the patient is made easy with a one-touch pendant control that features recessed buttons to prevent accidental activation.
Skytron 3600 Ultraslide Series
The 3600 series includes the 3600B, 3601 and 3602 tables. The main feature of this table is the top slide.
The 3602 boasts the most top-slide available in today’s market at 23”.
A bariatric table by all means, the 3602 is very similar to the 6702 with one major difference – the 3602 does not have top rotation ability.
However, the table still features power beach chair positioning.
Skytron 3500 EZ Slide Series
Included in this series are the 3500, 3501 and 3502.
While very similar to the 3600, the 3500 series is considered the more budget friendly of the two.
Still considered a bariatric table with 700 lbs lift and 600 lbs articulation, the top-slide is just a little less than the 3600 at 21”.
Of the current Skytron tables, the 3502 features the tallest height capability at 47”.
Another notable feature is the articulation will not affect the top slide ratings, even when maximum weight capacity is reached.
Two things to note are that this table series does not have a removable back section, and the 3500 has a little less weight capacity than the 3502.
Skytron 1602 Essentia
The 1602 is the most streamlined of all the latest Skytron tables.
It still offers a high weight capacity and 180° top rotation, but at a much lower cost.
This table is most suitable to smaller operating rooms and private surgery centers.
Steris General Surgical Tables
A fair statement to make is that most everyone working in an Operating Room has heard of Steris surgical tables.
In 1996, Steris stopped selling the Amsco 1080, a manual workhorse table that has been in use dating back to the mid/late 1960’s! Incredibly, there are still 1080’s working hard in some Canadian ORs.
Tables that Last:
At one point in time, the Amsco 2080 was considered the most widely sold surgical table in history. It came in manual, electric or remote control versions.
Even years after its relevance has dissipated, the 2080 is still looked at as one of the most versatile and well-designed surgical platforms.
When they were introduced, the 3080 and 3085 boasted many advanced features that answered clinical needs and were complemented with reliability, which made these tables arguably the most popular in North America at that time.
Like the ergonomic base design of Skytron tables, Steris tables also showcase a narrow base that makes it easy for gaining imaging access.
The latest generation of the Steris general surgery table models include the 5085 and 5085 SRT.
Both come with a lower minimum height, but the 5085 SRT has the ability to rotate the table (by unlocking the breaks and simply rotating the entire table), similar to tabletop rotation.
The rotation is made possible by the 5th wheel, which also allows for the transportation of patients.
Table positioning data can be telegraphed visually to staff via an LCD window.
Beach chair positioning is a one-touch button operation.
The Steris 4085, considered an all-purpose table, was designed for today’s patients and procedures.
It offers a high weight capacity of 1,100 lbs and easy imaging access with its narrow column, radiolucent tabletop and 18” slide.
In case of an uneven operating room floor, the self-levelling locks make sure the table stays firm throughout the procedure.
The table is very intuitive, making patient positioning easy and efficient.
The leg section is removable and lightweight.
Amsco (Steris) 3085 and 3080
Throughout the late eighties and into the new millennium, Amsco tables have been synonymous with reliability, popularity and quality.
In the prime of the 3080/3085, thousands of these tables were sold across North America, as they answered many operating room table questions.
Versatility and flexibility were brought to a new level with the tables’ ability to achieve precise patient positioning with the touch of a button.
The hydraulic system, to this day, is still regarded as one of the best-designed systems on the market, according to one of our most senior technicians, who has personally worked on hundreds of tables over a +30 year career.
*Note: The main difference between the 3085 and 3080 is the weight capacity. The 3085 has a lift and articulation of 1,000 lbs, but the 3080 only allows 400 lbs.
For the 3085, the 1000 lbs is based on the optimal patient position and orientation, but some restrictions apply, such as;
- If using/articulating the patient in lateral tilt, the max weight as noted by the manufacturer is 500 lbs, regardless of patient orientation.
- Also, If the patient is in reverse orientation (patient’s head at the normal foot end) then the weight cap of the table reduces to 500 lbs
- However, for extra patient weight and width capacity and expanded surgical capabilities, Amsco 3080 and 3085 SP Surgical Table owners should consider the Amsco 3080/3085 SP Bariatric Foot Extension (rated weight capacity of 1,000 lbs).
The 3080 has always been regarded as a workhorse. In fact, Outpatient Surgery (May 2013) asked a panel of manufacturers to list remanufactured tables that are the best economical choices without cutting corners on quality, and the 3080 was one of the seven listed.
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Billed as “one of the most reliable and popular surgical tables”, the 3085 is a bariatric table with a great ability to customize for any surgical specialty.
In a nod to Steris Amsco’s innovation, they integrated the Hermes voice-activated control system into the 3085 in 2001. The idea was to create a hands-free environment in the operating room.
The system gave the surgeon direct voice-command control over the positioning of the table during a procedure. While the concept was logical, its practicality never really took off.
For example, the surgeon would have to pre-record the voice commands before a surgery, which were then uploaded into the system. This would limit the table positioning only to the surgeon. Not only did the surgeon need to be trained on the acceptable vocabulary, but also on the pronunciation of each command and the responsive speed of the table.
In the hundreds of 3085 tables that Meditek has remanufactured, there is no quickly accessible memory of ever having worked with a Hermes-ready table.
Maquet General Surgery Tables
With their German engineering, Maquet surgical tables are considered by many in the healthcare industry to be very high quality and functional across multiple disciplines.
Continuing Success: Acquired by the Getinge Group in 2000, Maquet has always been a leader in surgical table technology. The Maquet OR table is renowned anywhere you go. In fact, Maquet states that of the approximate 700,000 surgeries performed every day worldwide, about a third of those happen on Maquet tables.
Award-Winning: With early beginnings in 1838, by the time the end of the 19th century rolled around, Maquet had picked up 36 international awards for outstanding achievements on their various product lines.
Modular Design: Although interchanging tabletops is common with several surgical table brands, Maquet really emphasizes this and makes it a focal point in their table offerings. Much of the modules will have a direct effect on the technical specifications. For example, the 1150.30 tabletop has a weight capacity of 838 lbs, but the 1150.20 has a max limit of 540 lbs.
In the interest of brevity, we will list maximum weight capacities where applicable. Please keep in mind that technical specifications may change within the model numbers.
Maquet 1130 Series (Heidelberg)
Although now outdated, the C-Arm compatible 1130’s T-shaped base made it ideal for surgical staff to get comfortably close to the patient.
A testament to its age, 1130 has a weight capacity of only 300 lbs.
Maquet 1150/1160 Series (AlphaMaquet and Otesus – the new AlphaMaquet)
The AlphaMaquet featured a universal tabletop that offered virtually unlimited positioning.
With a healthy maximum permissible weight of 800 lbs, the table could also support 44 lbs of accessories in any position (when set into the operating table column).
Maquet’s new version of the AlphaMaquet, the Otesus, is “particularly distinguished by its cost-effectiveness”, according to Maquet.
If you happen to have an AlphaMaquet in your surgical table fleet, the good news is the compatibility between the two significantly reduces the cost of upgrading.
To make the table mobile, Maquet introduced the Otesus Ergo Drive transporter.
It features an advanced auto-drive function for easy table maneuvering, individual speed regulation, and simple and intuitive operational control using the “Sensor Drive handle”, which is similar to a motorbike throttle.
Some of the other upgrades include expanded angles for combinations of trendelenburg/reverse trendelenburg and lateral tilt.
Maquet 1118 Series (AlphaClassic Pro and BetaClassic)
The AlphaClassic Pro is the powered version of the BetaClassic. The backlit control allows for operation in a darkened theatre.
Touted as a cost-effective option, the table doesn’t produce shadows for imaging.
The BetaClassic table is a great fit for environments where there is unreliable electricity or none at all, as the table is manually operated by a hydraulic power unit.
Since no external power is needed, two good applications are military and disaster.
Extra-large castors help move the table across various terrains.
Maquet 1131 Series (BetaStar)
The BetaStar is a simple, straightforward table divided into six sections.
One of its distinctive qualities is the ability to travel straight and laterally due to the special design of its castors.
In addition to an infrared hand control unit, the BetaStar allows simultaneous connection of the corded hand control and the footswitch.
Maquet 1180 Series (Magnus)
The 1180 Magnus emphasizes one of the greatest height ranges of surgical tables on the market at 21” to 48.6”.
The inclination angles of up to 80° and tilt angles of up to 45° offer unique X-ray conditions and clear access to the operating field.
To make the Magnus mobile, you require the Magnus transporter system. Various castor settings allow for straight or lateral movement, in addition to being fully locked.
Maquet 7200 Series (Meera)
The 7200 Meera is a combination of the most beneficial characteristics of the AlphaStar Pro and BetaStar.
One of its most distinctive features is the motorized longitudinal shift (12.2”), which allows for almost unrestricted radiolucency.
And without further ado, the Maquet winner is…the Maquet Meera. In 2016, the Meera beat out 5,000 entries from 53 countries to win the iF Design Award in the product category for Medicine/Healthcare. This award is for excellence in design.
Maquet 1133 Series (AlphaMaxx)
A bariatric table that features a low height of 24”, the Alphamaxx is able to withstand extreme loads in any of its positions.
Having a modular design means that it can be adapted to complement the patient’s size and be equipped in very little time.
The 1133 also features a longitudinal shift, also known as slide or top slide, of 18” to gain better imaging access.
A feature that makes the 1133 standout is the split leg option.
The auto drive feature makes it easy and safe to transport the table.
Furthermore, Maquet has developed a wireless control for the auto-drive called Sensor Drive.
Using infrared technology, it enables easy maneuvering of the table while regulating the speed.
Maquet 1132 Series (AlphaStar Pro)
The 1132 is available in a normal or low-height version.
The low-height version has a minimum of 24”.
With its T-shaped base, the 1132 can be compared somewhat to the Steris 3080 and 3085.
A four-point base provides exceptional stability, while the versatility of the tabletop makes positioning the patient ideal for a number of surgical specialties.
However, a few things to be aware of about the 1132, it has no kidney elevator (AKA a kidney bridge), and its base cover is a one-piece fibreglass unit.
If this cover gets severely damaged from things being left on top of it, it is a very major repair process to have the cover replaced as the entire table needs to be split in half in order to remove & replace the unit.
Berchtold Operon General Surgery Tables
The Berchtold surgical table mix consists of the Operon B series and the Operon D series, with the D series being more recent.
Within the B series, the models include the:
The D series consists of the:
*Note: Current Stryker models include only the D770, D830 and D860.
As the Berchtold line of surgical tables has changed ownership several times over the last few decades, it’s difficult to gather brand information.
This five-section surgical table features a 770 lbs patient weight limit.
On-board features include a one-touch flex position and a powered beach chair button.
One of the more distinctive features is that a convenient pass-through x-ray channel eliminates the need for cumbersome x-ray tabletops.
The B810 was originally built to offer a better experience with access, positioning and control.
The split leg Berchtold B810 features a concave base to give OR staff a few extra inches of room for their feet. To be even more accommodating, the table has one of the highest ranges, going up to 48”.
The Berchtold D760, which shares much of the refined styling and technology of the Operon D850, is available in two different height ranges.
At the time of its release, the D760 boasted “the widest lateral imaging window in the industry of 18.3“, which is consistent for the entire length of tabletop”. This is unconfirmed if it still holds true today.
The Operon D770 is billed as the economic-friendly option of the D series.
This table is similar in all technical specifications to the D830 minus the longitudinal slide.
The Operon D820 consists of a four-module tabletop.
One of the standouts of this table is that it can achieve a full range of articulation with a weight limit of 992 lbs.
The Operon D830 had an increasing demand for flexibility in its sights when being designed.
One of its distinctive features is the emergency integrated keypad stored on the lift column.
The Operon D850 was developed over a period of two years. At the time of its release, it offered “best in class range of vertical travel and full weight capacity throughout its entire range of motion”.
The vertical range is from 22.6” to 46.4”.
The public information on this table says that it comes with carbon fibre tabletop construction, but there may be a discrepancy with this.
According to a federal lawsuit, a Berchtold representative(s) overcharged a facility for what they described as a “carbon fibre imaging tabletop upgrade”, which apparently does not exist.
The Operon D860 is the upgraded version of the D850.
Three factors combine to give this table an optimal platform for imaging. They include the carbon fibre tabletop, integrated X-Ray channel and top slide of 16.9”.
As you read through the information on different surgical table distributors’ websites, you’ll notice a lot of bank statements.
These include things such as:
- “No matter the surgical position, this table is designed to meet the requirement.”
- Ask the representative to explain how or what the table has that makes it like this.
- “Mobile universal operating table which offers maximum load capacity, maximum flexibility and maximum comfort.”
- Ask the representative what the maximums for this table are, and then compare it to the maximums of other tables.
- Ask them how they measure maximum comfort compared to other tables, as everyone has maximum comfort.
A reputable representative will not only want to answer your questions, but they will do so with cold hard facts.
What Can Meditek Do For You
We have two unique things going for us.
- We are considered the leading remanufacturer of surgical tables in Canada.
- We can source any brand from any manufacturer to fit your needs (for remanufacturing).
In addition, Meditek also supplies new Skytron surgical tables.