To evaluate the presence of postural-related strain and musculoskeletal discomfort, along with the level of ergonomics training and the availability of ergonomic equipment among otolaryngology surgeons.
Intraoperative observations and survey study.
Using the Rapid Entire Body Assessment score system to identify ergonomic hazards, we conducted intraoperative observations assessing operating room personnel during different otolaryngological subspecialty procedures. Based on these findings, otolaryngology surgeons at a single academic institution in the United States were sent a survey that evaluated ergonomic practice, environmental infrastructure, and prior ergonomic training or education.
A response rate of 69% was obtained from 70 surgeons, with 72.9% of responding surgeons suffering from some level of back pain, with cervical spine pain being the most common. Interestingly, residents were equally affected when compared to more senior surgeons both in subjective survey reports and from observational risk analysis. Furthermore, 43.8% of surgeons reported suffering from the highest level of pain when standing, whereas only 12.5% experienced pain when sitting. Importantly, 10% stated that pain impacted their work. Only 24% of surgeons had any prior ergonomic training or education.
Our data suggest that pain and disability induced by poor ergonomics are widespread among the otolaryngology community and confirm that surgeons rarely receive ergonomic training in the surgical context. Additionally, intraoperative observational findings identified that the majority of observed surgeons display poor posture, particularly a poor cervical angle and use of ergonomic setups, both of which increase ergonomic risk hazard. These data provide guidance for future interventional studies.
NA Laryngoscope, 129:370-376, 2019.