The Impact of the Alexander Technique on Improving Posture and Surgical Ergonomics During Minimally Invasive Surgery: Pilot Study


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Abstract

PurposeOne of the main ergonomic challenges during surgical procedures is surgeon posture. There have been reports of a high number of work related injuries in laparoscopic surgeons. The Alexander technique is a process of psychophysical reeducation of the body to improve postural balance and coordination, permitting movement with minimal strain and maximum ease. We evaluated the efficacy of the Alexander technique in improving posture and surgical ergonomics during minimally invasive surgery.Materials and MethodsWe performed a prospective cohort study in which subjects served as their own controls. Informed consent was obtained. Before Alexander technique instruction/intervention subjects underwent assessment of postural coordination and basic laparoscopic skills. All subjects were educated about the Alexander technique and underwent post-instruction/intervention assessment of posture and laparoscopic skills. Subjective and objective data obtained before and after instruction/intervention were tabulated and analyzed for statistical significance.ResultsAll 7 subjects completed the study. Subjects showed improved ergonomics and improved ability to complete FLS™ as well as subjective improvement in overall posture.ConclusionsThe Alexander technique training program resulted in a significant improvement in posture. Improved surgical ergonomics, endurance and posture decrease surgical fatigue and the incidence of repetitive stress injuries to laparoscopic surgeons. Further studies of the influence of the Alexander technique on surgical posture, minimally invasive surgery ergonomics and open surgical techniques are warranted to explore and validate the benefits for surgeons.Abbreviations and Acronyms: AmSAT: American Society for the Alexander Technique™; AT: Alexander technique; MIS: minimally invasive surgery; postAT: after AT instruction/intervention; preAT: before AT instruction/intervention.

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