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Surgical Ergonomics And Musculoskeletal Pain In High-risk Specialties: A Single-institution, Multi-department Survey Study
Michael Guenoun, Deena Chihade, MD, Palma Shaw, MD, MBA, DFSVS, FACS, RPVI, Hannah Goldman-Daleo, MD, Kimberly Kendenburg.
SUNY Upstate, Syracuse, NY, USA.

Objectives:The postural demand and resulting work-related musculoskeletal injuries experienced by surgeons have historically been under-reported and inadequately addressed. In recent years, studies have demonstrated these phenomena correlate highly with associated morbidity of the operator. These injuries can lead to attrition exacerbating the growing physician workforce shortages. Our study aimed to assess the prevalence of ergonomic injuries and their impact amongst interventionists within our institution with the goal of implementing a curriculum to mitigate common injuries.
Methods:Utilizing the RedCap platform, an internal descriptive survey of physicians and trainees from multiple departments was performed. Inquiries such as work-related pain, activity levels, and use of ergonomics aids in addition to proper technique and desire for ergonomic education were included in a scaled multiple-choice survey. The study launched July 2023, and preliminary data was extracted after 3 weeks. Statistical analysis was used to gauge pain levels, wellness adherence and the desire for ergonomics training among participants.
Results:The survey received 39 respondents (28 physicians, and 11 trainees). Among the surveyed individuals, 28.2% reported experiencing discomfort because of clinical activities. The most reported type of discomfort was neck pain, with 71.8% of those who reported discomfort citing neck pain as their specific issue. Sixty nine percent of respondents report previous ergonomics training. Physicians and trainees (82%) both expressed interest in additional ergonomic training. Additionally, multiple participants disclosed in free text domains injuries attributed to the lack of education on this subject.
Conclusions:This analysis offers valuable insights into the potential impact of an ergonomics program on participants' well-being and pain management. Most participants in the survey report experiencing some form of work-related musculoskeletal discomfort. While some have had previous ergonomic training, a notable portion have not. Most respondents were eager for further training, highlighting the need to establish ergonomic education and practices within the institution to safeguard physician well-being and, ultimately, surgeon longevity (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Desire for Ergonomics Training Among Participants
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