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

d significantly, we're going to face a problem in the near future of a shortage of surgeons as well as shortened career longevity among surgeons who enter, or are already in, the field."

Dr. Park says surgeons who perform laparoscopic surgery face constraints that are not part of open surgery. "In laparoscopic surgery, we are very limited in our degrees of movement, but in open surgery we have a big incision, we put our hands in, we're directly connected with the target anatomy. With laparoscopic surgery, we operate by looking at a video screen, often keeping our neck and posture in an awkward position for hours," says Dr. Park. "Also, we're standing for extended periods of time with our shoulders up and our arms out, holding and maneuvering long instruments through tiny, fixed ports."

Study design

A comprehensive 23-question survey was sent to 2,000 board-certified gastrointestinal and endoscopic surgeons in North America and abroad who are members of the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons, a diverse group of experienced laparoscopic practitioners. The questions were grouped in four categories: demographics, physical symptoms, ergonomics and environment or equipment. Some questions required single answers, such as "Have you ever had any physical discomfort or symptoms you would attribute to your laparoscopic operating? Yes/No." Other questions allowed selection of multiple applicable answers.

Study results

Of 317 surgeons completing the survey, 272 (86.9 percent) reported experiencing physical discomfort or symptoms they attributed to performing minimally invasive surgery. The discomfort ranged from eye strain to problems in the surgeon's dominant hand, to neck, back and leg pain. A few surgeons also reported headaches, finger calluses, disc problems, shoulder muscle spasm and carpel tunnel syndrome. Age played a role in hand problems, with younger surgeons and those over 60 at
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Contact: Bill Seiler
bseiler@umm.edu
410-328-8919
University of Maryland Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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