Greening the operating room

Camila R. Guetter, Barbara J. Williams, Eliza Slama, Amanda Arrington, Marion C. Henry, Mecker G. Möller, Janet Elizabeth Tuttle-Newhall, Sharon Stein, Marie Crandall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Background: Climate change will affect most populations in the next decades and put the health of billions of people at risk. Health care facilities represent a significant source of pollution around the world and contribute to environmental changes. To address this topic, we performed a review of the available literature on tactics to reduce operating room (OR) waste and the potential of these strategies to impact the environment. Data Sources: A literature search was performed querying PubMed, Web of Science, and Science Direct. No comparative data were found; most were opinion papers, white papers, and case studies. For this reason, we proceeded with a narrative review, which provides an overview of the evidence on this topic and identifies areas for future research. Results: This systematic review summarizes the available literature on the 5 “Rs” of waste management: reduction, reusing, recycling, rethinking, and renewable energies. Conclusions: Surgery has a unique opportunity to transition to more environmentally-friendly operating room strategies, which may help decrease waste and lessen the impact of climate change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)683-688
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2018


  • Climate change
  • Global surgery
  • Global warming
  • Operating room waste reduction
  • Recycling
  • Repurposing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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