Prevalence of Musculoskeletal Disorders Among Surgeons Performing Minimally Invasive Surgery: A Systematic Review

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Abstract

Objective:

The aim of this study was to review musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) prevalence among surgeons performing minimally invasive surgery.

Background:

Advancements in laparoscopic surgery have primarily focused on enhancing patient benefits. However, compared with open surgery, laparoscopic surgery imposes greater ergonomic constraints on surgeons. Recent reports indicate a 73% to 88% prevalence of physical complaints among laparoscopic surgeons, which is greater than in the general working population, supporting the need to address the surgeons’ physical health.

Methods:

To summarize the prevalence of MSDs among surgeons performing laparoscopic surgery, we performed a systematic review of studies addressing physical ergonomics as a determinant, and reporting MSD prevalence. On April 15 2016, we searched Pubmed, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, Web of Science, CINAHL, and PsychINFO. Meta-analyses were performed using the Hartung-Knapp-Sidik-Jonkman method.

Results:

We identified 35 articles, including 7112 respondents. The weighted average prevalence of complaints was 74% [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 65–83]. We found high inconsistency across study results (I2 = 98.3%) and the overall response rate was low. If all nonresponders were without complaints, the prevalence would be 22% (95% CI 16–30).

Conclusions:

From the available literature, we found a 74% prevalence of physical complaints among laparoscopic surgeons. However, the low response rates and the high inconsistency across studies leave some uncertainty, suggesting an actual prevalence of between 22% and 74%. Fatigue and MSDs impact psychomotor performance; therefore, these results warrant further investigation. Continuous changes are enacted to increase patient safety and surgical care quality, and should also include efforts to improve surgeons’ well-being.

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