You are not alone. The use of saline bags to position patients during surgery has become common practice throughout Australia. However, using saline bags for this purpose can cause more harm than good and can be extremely dangerous. The smallest leak in the bag can cause severe electrical burns to the patient when electrosurgery is used during the procedure.
Additionally, the bags do not provide heat protection and adequate redistribution of pressure which can lead to nerve and skin damage, as well as pressure ulcers.
Using saline bags to position patients is taking an unnecessary risk.
Alternatively, gel rolls provide the best redistribution of pressure, dissipation of heat and humidity away from the patient’s body, and allow for free and even blood flow. Gel positioning rolls reduce the patient’s risk of tissue trauma.
Gel Positioning Bags and Rolls
1. Pearlman, R. (2009). Use of a Saline Bag as a Shoulder Roll During Surgery Not Recommended. Arch Surg, 144(10), 892. doi:10.1001/archsurg.2009.164.
2. Burger, J. (2014, June 4). Don’t Use Saline Bags to Position Patients. Outpatient Surgery Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.outpatientsurgery.net/surgical-facility-administration/patient-safety/don-t-use-saline-bags-to-position-patients--06-04-14