Medisch Contact recently published an article regarding a new study about the ergonomic problems related to minimally invasive surgery. Laparoscopic surgery is physically more stressful for a surgeon than normal surgery. That is, because he is in the same posture for a longer time, makes repetitive movements with the upper extremities, and strength is required from a less natural position. Recent studies show that these factors lead to physical complaints among 73 to 88 percent of the laparoscopic surgeons. That is quite high according to Chantal Alleblas et al. (Radboudumc, LUMC and TU Delft). They therefore systematically reviewed 35 studies investigating this problem and published the results in Annals of Surgery.
Alleblas et al. came to a number of conclusions. On average, about 7100 participants (general surgeons, gynecologists, urologists) participated. Almost one quarter to almost three-quarters developed physical complaints. Often the pain had an occasional character, such as muscle and joint pain and fatigue, but sometimes they were also chronic. The most involved body parts were the neck, back, shoulders and hands. The researchers believe that innovations in surgical care are of course primarily intended for patients, but the ergonomic consequences for surgeons should not be neglected. Fatigue and physical complaints can negatively affect the psychomotorical performance of the physicians and hence influence the quality of work.
A link to the full article “Prevalence of Musculoskeletal Disorders Among Surgeons Performing Minimally Invasive Surgery: A Systematic Review” can be found here.
A link to the article of Medisch Contact can be found here (Available in Dutch only)