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2008 Annual Meeting Abstracts

Ergonomics of the Endocrine Surgeon
melanie goldfarb, MD1, Sareh Parangi, MD2.
1BIDMC, Boston, MA, USA, 2MGH, Boston, MA, USA.

Objective: Investigate ergonomic conditions of endocrine surgeons in the OR
Design: Online survey
Setting: Endocrine surgeons
Participants: AAES members with email addresses; 30% response (57/190)
Intervention: None
Main Outcome measures: Self-reported conditions
Results: Demographics - 88% male; 79% US institutions, 12% European. 40% ages 50-59, 37% ages 40-49. 60% practicing > 15 years with 33% (19/57) performing 2-5 endocrine surgeries/week, although 47% spent 11-20 hrs/week operating. 74% large academic hospitals; 33% general surgery call once/week, 40% never took general call. 67% regularly performed laparoscopic adrenalectomies. 57% (32/57) wear loupes regularly, 25% wear a headlamp.
Overall, 40% experienced neck discomfort with almost half of those (11/23) seeking some form of treatment; 19% back discomfort with almost 90% (10/11) seeking treatment. Of those with discomfort, 25 (45%) utilized massage and 18 (32%) required physical therapy; 21 (37%) visited a physician and 11(19%) had some form of imaging. 6 surgeons needed time off from work. Bad table height, loupes, and poor OR lighting were assessed as contributing factors to overall neck and back discomfort in some surgeons. Higher weekly operative times were associated with back and shoulder discomfort; however, performance of laparoscopic surgery did not correlate. Only 50% of surgeons were aware of ergonomic guidelines.
Conclusions: Neck and back problems are prevalent among endocrine surgeons; 40% report significant neck discomfort and 19% significant back discomfort. Many surgeons seek therapeutic intervention, though most injuries appear self-limited and do not lead to long-term disability. Factors contributing to discomfort include wearing loupes, bad table height, poor lighting, and greater operative load. Endocrine surgeons should not only be aware of ergonomic guidelines, but institute changes and seek intervention when physical discomfort persists.


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