There is a bothersome little problem many patients have never considered as they undergo a surgical procedure and that is the possibility of developing a nerve injury due to the positioning in the operating room. We call these injuries, neuropathies. What this usually means is that an exposed nerve has been compressed and is usually only temporarily injured. As a good example, think of when you hit your funny bone and you get that awful tingling down into your hand down into your hand. What usually happens in the operating room is that a nerve is compressed by poor positioning and over the time of the surgery the nerve is squeezed and later on awakening you will sense the effects such as tingling, numbness or even weakness. This is a problem anesthesia personnel and operating nurses are always trying to prevent.
There are many techniques employed to try to prevent this from happening. First of all the operating room table is padded with a soft rubbery material and all known areas where nerves are exposed such as the elbow are carefully padded with foam. When the patient is placed in an unorthodox position, pillows and padding is used to prevent problems. Needless to say many efforts are made to safeguard the patients.