What Are The Main Types Of Surgical/Operating Room Table Clamps and Sockets?

Clark Socket
Surgical Table Clamps

Having been in the surgical table industry since 1982, you could say that we’re somewhat familiar with surgical table clamps and sockets.

These OR table accessories, although seemingly not as important as other surgical table accessories, play an impactful role in the effectiveness of whatever it is you are attaching to them.

This reminds me of a recent call I had with someone who had purchased an armboard from us. Although they got the armboard from us, they bought the clamp from another supplier – an online shopping mart type for smaller ticket items.

They decided to go with a clamp that wasn’t necessarily the best fit for the armboard. But it was cheaper than the one we recommended. In the end, they came back to us to get a proper stainless steel clamp for the armboard as the other clamp was compromising the optimal positioning for patients.

Lesson of the day: Make sure you are not compromising quality because of price, especially where it affects functionality and performance. Know which types of surgical table clamps and sockets do what, and for which they are best suited.

Before we get into the main types of surgical/operating room table clamps and sockets, there are a few things to be aware of.

Stainless Steel VS Aluminum VS Anodized Aluminum

Clamps and sockets are most commonly found to be made out of stainless steel; however, there are other options, such as aluminum and anodized aluminum.

Stainless steel will be the better choice against standard aluminum for longevity, but anodized aluminum has some debatable characteristics to make a case for comparison to stainless steel.

For example, anodized aluminum could be lighter in weight, yet yield strength properties that are almost the same as stainless. Lighter weight not only means easier to handle, but also possibly less money for shipping.

Adding to longevity of stainless steel is that it includes chromium, which provides higher resistance to corrosion, and non-porous characteristics. Aluminum, on the other hand, is more susceptible to oxidation and corrosion mainly due to its passivation layer.

If going with stainless steel, you should always double check that it is grade 304.

So, do you pay a little more for a more durable clamp or save a bit of money with an anodized aluminum option but run the risk of replacing the clamp sooner?

Stainless Steel Aluminum
Porousness Non-porous Porous
Corrosiveness High resistance Low resistance
Strength (durability) High Medium to low
Weight Aluminum is typically 1/3 to 1/2 the weight of stainless steel
Cost More expensive Less expensive

Manufacturers Clamps and Sockets VS After-Market

One of the first things to be conscious of is whether you are getting a clamp/socket from the original manufacturer of the table you own, or if you are going with an after-market piece.

Note: After-market does not necessarily mean lower quality.

However, you should always check to make sure that your table, as well as the surgical table accessory, and the adjoining clamp are compatible.

Most clamps and sockets fit industry-standard side rails. But, maybe your table has European-style side rails, and as such, requires a different fit.

What are the standard North American side rail dimensions?

Glad you asked! Standard surgical table siderails measure 1.125″ x 0.375″.

Clark Sockets

Clark Sockets can be broken down into two categories:

  1. Round post inserts
  2. Hybrid round and rectangular posts

Round bar or post Clark Sockets normally hold up to a 11/16″ diameter bar. Stainless steel Clark Sockets weigh around 2 lbs on average.

Hybrid Clark Sockets, sometimes referred to as Elite or Deluxe, accept a rectangular post of 1″ wide x 0.25″ thick, in addition to the round post.

Both versions should be able to rotate 360° via machined locking teeth.

Siderail ClampsSiderail Clamp

There are a few different kinds of Siderail Clamps such as standard or simple, and universal or deluxe. Keep in mind that definitions can vary amongst OR clamp manufacturers.

Whether simple or deluxe, these clamps can be attached along the operating room siderail. They maintain your surgical table accessories in either a vertical or horizontal position.

Standard siderail clamps normally accommodate a 1” x 0.25” rectangular post. Depending on definition, a standard clamp may also go as thick as 0.375”, exclusively.

Universal rail clamps, which could be called deluxe rail clamps, normally accommodate both round and rectangular posts. The diameter is usually 0.625”, while the flat, rectangular bar is 1” x 0.375”. There are also options for rectangular posts of up to 0.5”.

Schure SocketsSchure Socket

You can go with either a standard Schure Socket or a Schure Socket XL, which incorporates both round and rectangular posts.

Typically, you’ll see the round bars being up to 0.625” and the rectangular posts up to 1″ x 0.375″.

Tri-Clamp DeviceTri-Clamp Device

The Tri-Clamp Device has three knobs that independently adjust for lithotomy, abduction and rail securement positioning.

This clamp can accepts 0.5″ to 0.625″ round posts and 1″ x 0.25″ flat accessories.

The great thing about this clamp is that one person can adjust it without losing the patient’s positioning.

SpringLoc ClampSpring-Loc Clamp

There are two types of SpringLoc Clamps – one that has a flex side and one that is just solid. The one with the flex side can be attached to the siderail at any given point, whereas the other attaches either via the end of the siderail or at the notches.

These clamps secure rectangular rods up to 1” x 0.25’.

CamLoc ClampCam-Loc Clamp

The CamLoc Clamp uses a ‘cam’ and jaw function to securely lock the bar or rod into its clamping section, maintaining it from swaying or give.

It accepts round bars of up to 0.625” or rectangular rods of up to 1” x 0.375”.

These clamps are usually autoclavable and are used in situations that are more heavy-duty.

Easy Lock Socket ClampEasy-Lock Siderail Clamp

As simple as attaching it to any part of the side rail and adjusting position. The Easy Lock Socket Clamp holds round posts of up to 0.6875” (11/16”).


Keep in mind that there are more clamps out there, albeit with different names of functions. The clamps we presented in this article are what you will see most often in operating rooms.

Additional Resources

Meditek distributes clamps and sockets from numerous manufacturers, allowing you to find the right solution for your specific application. Click on the link below to get a quick quote on the clamp or sockets you need!

Surgical table clamps and sockets quote

2 Comments on “What Are The Main Types Of Surgical/Operating Room Table Clamps and Sockets?”

  1. Jenine Ingram

    Need a quote for clams compatible with denyers yellowfin stirrups to camp onto denyers OR table.

    From Bairnsdale Regional Health Service.

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