An Easier Way to Reduce Contamination Risk in the Operating Room… New Sterile-Z Back Table Covers

Nov 10, 2021 7:00:00 AM

The Sterile-Z Back Story

A few years ago, a PA and a surgeon in Vail, Colorado, came up with the idea of a drape that could temporarily cover a spine patient intraoperatively while bringing a non-sterile 3D radiographic imaging device over the sterile field. The innovative patient drape allowed for a removal process that maintained sterility of the underlying sterile field. The PA then applied this concept to the back table, in essence providing a temporary cover for the sterile back table setup in the operating room that could be removed without breaching sterility. Not long afterward, the PA and the surgeon approached TIDI Products with their idea.

The resulting Sterile-Z® Covers provide a highly effective tool for reducing contamination and helping to maintain the sterility of OR back tables and Mayo stands when sterile surgical instruments or implants are not in use. The importance of this function should not be underestimated. According to AORN guidelines for perioperative practice, the sterile field should be covered when not in use or during periods of increased activity, like pre-incision or repositioning of the patient.1

Bringing Something New to the Table

Despite the long-standing success of Sterile-Z Covers, TIDI Products recently decided to implement several updates to help caregivers more easily prepare their operating rooms and maintain the sterile fields within them.


The New Product Development team at TIDI has now redesigned these popular back table covers to incorporate user-friendly improvements, including:

  • Simplifying the folding to mimic standard back table cover folds
  • Making the visual and written instructions easier to understand as well as including a QR code for ready access to an instructional video
  • Adding blue-colored handles to simplify the removal process by illustrating proper hand placement

These changes to Sterile-Z Covers make covering the sterile field easier and more intuitive for nurses and operating room staff, potentially providing them more time to perform other critical tasks. It is worth noting that AORN guidelines for perioperative practice indicate no evidence has been found to support the assertion that the presence of a person directly observing a covered sterile table during a procedural delay prevents contamination of the sterile field.1

A final consideration. When exposed to air, it can take as little as 30 minutes for tables to be contaminated in the operating room.2 Fortunately, TIDI’s redesigned, easier-to-use Sterile-Z Covers help maintain the sterile field not only when deployed but during application and removal as well.

To request a sample of the new and improved Sterile-Z Cover (standard size and XL available), please click here.

1. Guidelines for sterile technique. In: Wood A, editor. Guidelines for perioperative practice. Denver (CO): AORN; 2021. pp. 944-967.
2. Dalstrom DJ, Venkatarayappa I, Manternach AL, Palcic MS, Heyse BA, Prayson MJ. Time-dependent contamination of opened sterile operating-room trays. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2008; 90(5): 1022–1025.



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