Who needs the surgical headlight?

Cleft Palate Craniofac J. 2007 Mar;44(2):126-8. doi: 10.1597/06-026.1.


Objective: The use of surgical headlights may lead to awkward posture and limit the mobility and visibility of the operating team. Despite the vast availability of fiber-optic instruments, many surgeons continue to use the surgical headlight, which may be harmful to their health and career. We report the use of the Lumitex LightMat surgical illuminator instead of the conventional surgical headlight in cleft palate surgery.

Methods: The LightMat is a disposable single-use device that is bright, flexible, and malleable and attaches easily to most retractors. Twenty cleft palate and five pharyngeal flaps cases were performed in which the LightMat was attached to the Dingman mouth retractor with biocompatible two-sided adhesive tapes.

Results: The LightMat was successfully used in all 25 cases. No cases required the surgeon to put on additional lighting such as a headlight. In addition, no cases required the LightMat surgical illuminator to be replaced.

Conclusion: The LightMat provides excellent surgical light for cleft palate surgery and pharyngeal procedures. It affords the surgeon several advantages: it provides a cool operative light, flexibility in surgical position, and improved visibility and mobility; the surgeon avoids the delay in obtaining an appropriate working headlight; and, more importantly, it may prevent postural problems that could lead to spinal sprain and disability.

MeSH terms

  • Adhesives
  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Cleft Palate / surgery
  • Disposable Equipment
  • Equipment Design
  • Fiber Optic Technology / instrumentation*
  • Humans
  • Lighting / instrumentation*
  • Optical Fibers
  • Pharynx / surgery
  • Pliability
  • Surface Properties
  • Surgical Flaps
  • Surgical Instruments*


  • Adhesives
  • Biocompatible Materials