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

highest risk, but there was no correlation between age and symptoms in other parts of the body.

Annual case volume emerged as a key predictor of physical symptoms. Case volume impact was seen in surgeons who had received postgraduate surgical fellowship training. Those surgeons averaged 249 cases a year, while the non-fellowship average was 192. Neck, hand and leg symptoms rose with increased case volume. "If surgeons had more than 150-200 cases a year, they were at a much higher risk," says Dr. Park. "However, if the surgeon did long, complex cases, they only needed half that number to increase the risk."

To minimize the problems, 84 percent said they had changed their position, while 30 percent said they changed instruments or took a break. Significantly, 40 percent of all participants said they would just ignore any such problem.

Instrument design was listed as the main source of symptoms for more than 74 percent of the surgeons, while 40 percent cited operating room table setup and display monitor location. More than half of the surgeons (58.7 percent) said they were only slightly aware or not aware at all of recommendations to reduce symptoms from researchers in the field of surgical ergonomics.

Dr. Park says the survey results provide important pieces to the puzzle, but ergonomic researchers do not know what all the issues are. As a first step toward developing solutions, he calls for a fresh, comprehensive attempt to understand the surgical workplace. "Many manufacturers and industries have been able to optimize workflow, worker safety and efficiency by characterizing their workspace, while we in surgery have done nothing. We have not seriously investigated or addressed the surgeon-patient interface and the surgeon-instrumentation interface. If you go into the cockpit of an airplane, everything is integrated. In the operating room there is very limited integration of technologies," says Dr. Park.

"The patient has
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Contact: Bill Seiler
bseiler@umm.edu
410-328-8919
University of Maryland Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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