Is Your Career Hurting You? The Ergonomic Consequences of Surgery in 701 Urologists Worldwide.J Endourol. 2019 12; 33(12):1037-1042.JE
Purpose: Our objective was to seek correlations between the type, volume, and duration of surgical work performed, surgeon habits and characteristics, and the prevalence of neck and back musculoskeletal complaint and intervention across career from training to retirement. Materials and Methods: An anonymous web-based multinational survey of urologists was conducted. The primary outcome measured was pain. Secondary outcomes included pain requiring intervention and surgery. Responses were subgrouped according to geography, practice patterns, and demographics. Student t test, Fisher's exact test, and chi-square test were used for analysis. Results: A total of 701 complete responses were received from this multinational survey. Gender, pain distribution, and private or academic practice did not correlate with pain, whereas exercise, lower weight, and body mass index (BMI) were protective. Dose-response of surgical type was assessed with high- and low-volume density quartiles and frequency of each pain severity; no correlation was found. Secondary analysis showed that female practitioners seek invasive therapy less than male counterparts, and practitioners of direct optical cystoscopy report no more neck trouble than others. Length of career since residency shows little relationship to pain or pain-free rates. Conclusions: In this, the largest surgical ergonomic study to date: surgical type, duration, volume, setting, and physician gender were unrelated to surgeon pain throughout career. Exercise was associated with lower prevalence of pain in a dose-related manner; increasing weight and BMI were positively associated with pain. Although 47% of urologists with spinal pain blame their career, we are unable to identify any dose-response relationship that supports that assumption.