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Survey finds many surgeons suffer injuries from minimally invasive techniques
Date:2/1/2010

Surgeons who engage in minimally invasive, laparoscopic surgery are providing great benefits to their patients, but possibly to their own detriment. That's the finding of the largest survey ever conducted of surgeons in North America who perform laparoscopic procedures. The survey, developed at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, found that 87 percent of laparoscopic surgeons have experienced physical symptoms or discomfort. This was especially true among those with high case volumes. Previous surveys had found only a 20-30 percent incidence of occupational injury among these surgeons. Results of the survey will appear in the March 2010 Journal of the American College of Surgeons and are now available online.

Millions of patients around the world have benefited from minimally invasive surgical techniques introduced some 20 years ago. The benefits include increased safety, quicker recovery, shorter hospital stays and cosmetic advantages compared to open surgery techniques.

Despite these successes, the impact of minimally invasive techniques on those who perform them is little-known and under-appreciated. "We face a pending epidemic of occupational injuries to surgeons and we can no longer ignore their safety and health," says the survey's principal author, Adrian E. Park, M.D., chief of general surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center and professor of surgery and vice chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

"Sadly, it is easier for a surgeon to obtain an ergonomic assessment and direction to improve his golf swing than his posture or movement during surgery," says Dr. Park, who is also executive director of the Maryland Advanced Simulation, Training, Research, and Innovation (MASTRI) Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center. It is the first facility in the world to focus on surgical movement. "If injuries among surgeons are not addresse
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Contact: Bill Seiler
bseiler@umm.edu
410-328-8919
University of Maryland Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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