Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) among neurosurgeons can lead to consequences for themselves, the hospital, and society. In the current study, the working conditions of neurosurgeons from an ergonomic point of view is evaluated, together with WMSD.
Members of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons were surveyed with an online survey covering 1) demographics, 2) working conditions, 3) ergonomic features during 3 neurosurgical procedures, and 4) whether they experienced WMSD. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to identify factors associated with experiencing WMSD.
In total, 417 replies were received. Respondents had a mean tenure of 21.9 years. In total, 33.1% stated that the operating room is furnished ergonomically and 90.7% stated that ergonomics is an underexposed field in neurosurgery. The majority of the respondents (73.6%) had experienced WMSD. Performing long procedures and spine surgery were mentioned most often as cause for WMSD. Due to WMSD, 11.3% of the respondents had to take time off work, and 14.2% considered changing their career. Analgesics were mostly used as treatment for WMSD (42.9%) and 7.4% underwent surgery. Having a tenure ≤15 years and having the operating room furnished ergonomically were associated with less WMSD in univariate analysis, whereas only a tenure <15 years was in multivariate analysis (odds ratio 0.27; 95% confidence interval 0.085-0.831).
Despite only a minority of the surgeons taking time off due to WMSD, the majority suffers from WMSD. Education of residents in ergonomics to prevent WMSD in their later careers and ergonomic furnishing of surgical instrumentation and operating rooms seem to be areas for improvement.