Postural ergonomics and work-related musculoskeletal disorders in neurosurgery: lessons from an international survey.Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2021 06; 163(6):1541-1552.AN
Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) affect a significant percentage of the neurosurgical workforce. The aim of the current questionnaire-based study was to examine the prevalence of WMSDs amongst neurosurgeons, identify risk factors, and study the views of neurosurgeons regarding ergonomics.
From June to August 2020, members of the "European Association of Neurosurgical Societies," the "Neurosurgery Research Listserv," and the "Latin American Federation of Neurosurgical Societies" were asked to complete an electronic questionnaire on the topics of WMSDs and ergonomics.
A total of 409 neurosurgeons responded to the survey, with a 4.7 male to female ratio. Most of the surgeons worked in Europe (76.9%) in academic public hospitals. The vast majority of the participants (87.9%) had experienced WMSDs, mainly affecting the shoulder, neck, and back muscles. The most common operations performed by the participants were "Craniotomy for convexity/intrinsic tumors" (24.1%) and "Open lumbar basic spine" (24.1%). Neurosurgeons agreed that ergonomics is an underexposed area in the neurosurgical field (84.8%) and that more resources should be spend (87.3%) and training curricula changes should be made (78.3%) in order to alleviate the burden of WMSDs on neurosurgeons. Univariate analysis did not reveal any associations between the development of WMSDs and age, gender, tenure, average duration of operation, operating time per week, type of operation, and surgical approach.
The problem of WMSDs ought to be more closely addressed and managed by the neurosurgical community. More studies ought to be designed to investigate specific ergonomic parameters in order to formulate practice recommendations.