Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) has many advantages for patients, however, it places surgeons at risk for Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD). Recently, the importance of prevention of such injuries and improvement of the ergonomics of the operating room is increasing.
To assess the prevalence of WMSD among minimally invasive surgeons in Israel, discuss the contributing factors and the overall awareness for ergonomic training. In addition, a review of the literature on the topic was conducted.
An online questionnaire was sent to the members of the Israeli Society of Endoscopic Surgery. The results were analyzed and summarized. For literature review, PubMed was used to search for English-language publications related to the issue.
Of 83 respondents, the majority (77%) have considerable experience in MIS (more than 10 years). The prevalence of WMSD was 12% before beginning the practice of laparoscopy compared to 78% after 15-20 years of practice. Injury sites included back pain, neck and upper extremity (shoulder pain, tennis elbow and carpal tunnel syndrome) in 41%, 25% and 34% respectively. More than two thirds of responders unaware of possible ergonomic solutions and didn't consider adopting any appropriate preventive measures.
The incidence of WMSD among MIS surgeons is high and underestimated. There is a desperate need to prevent such morbidity among surgeons by increasing awareness and providing the means to improve their work environment. Surgeons should adhere to ergonomic recommendations for positioning of monitors, table height, posture, foot pedal placement and laparoscopic devices use.