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Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2009 July; 91(5): 435–436.
PMCID: PMC2758450
Technical Notes and Tips
Bruce Campbell, Section Editor

A New Technique of Supplying Fluid for Arthroscopy


Swapping fluid bags during arthroscopic procedures requires a member of staff to be free when the first bag empties, to ensure continuous irrigation. We describe a technique which removes this timing issue.


Two bags of irrigation solution are suspended from a drip stand, with one hanging one-third of a bag length lower than the other (Fig. 1). The outflow to the upper bag is opened first and the lower bag is opened once the upper bag is half empty. This timing, and the relative heights of the bags, is important to prevent the lower bag from becoming over-inflated. Once the upper bag is empty, the lower bag continues to supply irrigation fluid. The upper bag is renewed and opened before the lower bag empties, and the position of the bags is then reversed, ensuring a continuous supply of fluid.

Figure 1
The arrangement of the two bags on a drip stand.


This straightforward technique ensures a continuous supply of irrigation fluid, while allowing theatre staff the freedom to switch fluid bags when convenient. No extra cost is involved.

Articles from Annals of The Royal College of Surgeons of England are provided here courtesy of The Royal College of Surgeons of England