Invented in 1987, forced-air warming technology, the Bair Hugger™shown in the photo, looks like a plastic blanket with warm air inside, has become standard in hospitals around the world, safely warming 165+ million patients. It keeps anaesthetised patients warm and maintains 'normothermia' - normal body temperature. This makes the operation safer for the patient and as it is single-use, reduces infection. Maintaining normal body temperature is crucial in long operations, especially breast reconstructions which I do every week; when a large part of the body such as the chest and abdomen are exposed for surgery, thereby losing heat and cooling down further from the use of damp swabs and saline in the surgical field.
My breast reconstruction patients benefit tremendously even after the operation. The BairHugger is kept on overnight- it keeps the 'breast flap' warm and hence keeps the connected blood vessels which are 2-3mm in diameter flowing nicely. My reconstruction patients do feel a little 'roasted', though I prefer to say 'cosy'!.