Patient and physician positioning during anterior skull base surgery impacts physician ergonomics.Br J Neurosurg. 2022 Jun; 36(3):394-399.BJ
The effects of anterior skull base surgery on surgeon's ergonomics remain unclear and this study explores the impact of patient, surgeon and screen positioning on surgeon's ergonomics during anterior skull base surgery using the Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA) tool.
A total of 20 different surgical positions involving the operating surgeon, assisting surgeon, patient head position, camera position and screen position/number were simulated. For each position, the ergonomic effects on the upper limb, neck, trunk and lower limb of surgeons were analysed using the Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA) tool.
The lowest RULA score is 2 and the maximum score is 6. The majority of scores ranged from 2 to 3 suggesting the majority of positions have acceptable postures. The average RULA score of the right side of operating surgeon was 2.8 versus 2.95 on the left-side (p = 0.297). For the assisting surgeon, the average RULA score of the right side was 3.65 versus 3.25 for the left side (p = 0.053). The average combined (left and right) RULA score for the operating surgeon was 5.76 versus 6.9 for the assisting surgeon (p < 0.001). Position 17 (operating surgeon to the right of patient, assisting surgeon to the left of patient, central patient head position and two screens) is the most ergonomically favourable position. Position 2 (operating and assisting surgeon to the right of patient, patient head position to the right and one screen position to the left of patient) is the least favourable position.
This simulation raises awareness of risk of musculoskeletal injury in anterior skull base surgery and highlights that certain positional behaviours are better for reducing injury risk than others. Two screens should be considered when performing a two-surgeon, four-hand anterior skull base surgery and surgeons should consider applying this to their own ergonomic environment in theatre.