What is Surgical Lighting, and How is it Relevant to Selling Your Styles?

We rarely ever think about the role of lighting in surgical settings, even though lighting plays a significant role in illuminating operation theatres and examination rooms to facilitate medical procedures. Surgical lighting includes specialized lighting setups used in medical environments and has multiple uses in other industries such as photography. 

It comes in different forms depending on the use, including surgical overhead lamps and headlamps. Surgical lighting is engineered to provide minimal shadows while the medical staff moves and provides even illumination in the Operating Room. 

Types of Surgical Lights

A combination of surgical lights is called a surgical lighting system. Quality lighting is an absolute must when it comes to surgical settings, which is why surgical lights flood the intended area with bright and even illumination. 

Heat management is another important factor in using only certain kinds of lights as surgical lighting. This is because there is a need for bright illumination for long hours without producing heat in surgical settings. 

These lights also offer excellent shadow management by removing cast shadows that obstruct the visibility when looking down a cavity. On the other hand, the ideal lighting enhances contour shadows or the shadows that help you discern depth and volume. Using multiple light sources optimizes shadow dilution and results in enhanced visibility.

Let us take a look at prominent types of surgical lights –

Overhead Surgical Lights

Overhead surgical lights are clamped to the ceiling or mounted on a wall with the purpose of flooding the surgical area with bright light, maximizing the illumination. LED or Xenon lights are commonly used for overhead lighting and are adjustable, which allows surgeons to move them for optimal illumination of the desired area. 

LED lights are ideal for surgical environments, offering homogeneous illumination, with color rendition, controlled shadows, and elimination of color temperature, resulting in excellent lighting.


These smaller lights are mounted on surgical headgear to offer mobile even illumination to the surgeon. Surgical headlights offer bright single-point illumination that moves with the surgeon’s attention and is designed for improved flexibility. They offer excellent clarity and convenience to the surgeon. 

In-cavity Lighting

In-cavity lighting is either connected to a surgical instrument or is fixed at a spot to flood surgical cavities with bright illumination. As you can imagine, in-cavity surgical lighting must offer bright light for better illumination. In fact, in a survey conducted by the National Association of Spinal Surgeons, 94% of surgeons agreed that lighting in the cavity could improve surgery and reduce risk.

Understanding Surgical Lighting Standards

The importance of quality and meeting certain benchmarks cannot be overstated when it comes to surgical lighting. This is because anything short of ideal lighting can be at best inconvenient, and at its worst, life-threatening in a surgical setting. This is why the International Electro-technical Commission (IEC) established “Particular requirements for the safety of surgical luminaires and luminaires for diagnosis.”

  • Brightness (Lux): The central illuminance should be between 40,000 lux to 160,000 lux.
  • Correlated Color Temperature (CCT): Between 3500k to 6700k (yellowish white to blueish white) after filtration.
  • Color Rendering Index (CRI): The color rendering index (Ra) should be between 85 and 100 to distinguish tissue color in a cavity. 
  • Homogenous light: The light should offer good illumination on a flat, narrow, or deep surface in a cavity, despite obstacles such as surgeons’ heads or hands.
  • Backup: In the case of a power interruption, the light should be restored within 5 seconds with at least 50% of the lux intensity, but not less than 40,000 lux. within 40 seconds the light should be completely restored to the original brightness.
  • Shadow dilution: The light’s ability to minimize the effect of obstructions with a requirement of at least a minimum of 10% of the actual lux level.

Leveraging Surgical Lighting for Awe-inspiring Apparel Photography

Surgical lighting offers uncontested quality when it comes to flooding the desired area, which is why its applications are not just limited to surgical settings. The bright and even illumination offered by these lights, especially LEDs can be excellent for capturing beautiful product images. 

  • Create a well-lit environment for your product photoshoot
  • Control color temperature and shadows by using surgical lighting. They produce cold lighting while eliminating shadows.
  • Surgical lights produce the right amount of light without creating glare or increasing brightness to excessive levels. You also have control over levels of lighting for optimal illumination.
  • They are often flexible and easy to move around or fix at a particular spot to offer seamless lighting. 
  • The use of LED lights is beneficial for another reason – LED lights create the perfect white spot which can be a brilliant addition to your photoshoot lighting setup.
  • Color rendering is another feature of surgical lighting that contributes to stunning photography. The use of cool colors in surgical lights and bright LEDs can result in impeccable product imagery for your eCommerce brand.

We cannot imagine medical environments without appropriate lighting, but most people don’t understand the relevance and applications of surgical lights in product and eCommerce photography. Using surgical lighting for product photography can result in beautifully lit backgrounds and high-quality product imagery. 

AI-powered photography platforms like FlixStudio are enabling eCommerce brands to create compelling on-model product imagery to boost turnaround times and online conversions. Supported by an end-to-end AI-based photography studio like FlixStudio, brands can access hundreds of catalog and eCommerce-ready on-model images at a fraction of the time and cost when compared to traditional in-person photoshoots. 


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Arunava Acharjee

(Product Marketing Manager)