Ergonomic deficits in robotic gynecologic oncology surgery: a need for intervention.J Minim Invasive Gynecol. 2013 Sep-Oct; 20(5):648-55.JM
To evaluate surgeon strain using validated ergonomic assessment tools.
Observational study (Canadian Task Force classification III).
Academic medical center.
Robotic surgeons performing gynecologic oncology surgical procedures.
Videotape footage of surgeons performing robotic gynecologic oncology procedures was obtained. A human factors engineer experienced with health care ergonomics analyzed the video recordings and performed ergonomic evaluations of the surgeons.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS
An initial evaluation was conducted using the Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA) survey, an ergonomic assessment and prioritization method for determining posture, force, and frequency concerns with focus on the upper limbs. A more detailed analysis followed using the Strain Index (SI) method, which uses multiplicative interactions to identify jobs that are potentially hazardous. Seventeen hours of video recordings were analyzed, and descriptive data based on RULA/SI analysis were collected. Ergonomic evaluation of surgeon activity resulted in a mean RULA score of 6.46 (maximum possible RULA score, 7), indicating a need for further investigation. The mean SI grand score was 24.34. SI scores >10 suggest a potential for hazard to the operator. Thus, the current use of the surgical robot is potentially dangerous with regards to ergonomic positioning and should be modified.
At a high-volume robotics center, there are ergonomics deficits that are hazardous to gynecologic surgeons and suggest the need for modification and intervention. A training strategy must be developed to address these ergonomic issues and knowledge deficiencies.