January 14, 2020

Reproductive hazards for female surgeons in the OR

By: Judy Mathias

Editor's Note

Reproductive hazards are present in the OR and may contribute to pregnancy complications and infertility in female surgeons, this review finds.

Hazards include radiation, surgical smoke, working conditions, sharps injuries, anesthetic gases, and intraoperative use of toxic agents.

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Studies comparing female surgeons with the general population show increased rates of infertility and pregnancy complications, including spontaneous abortion, preterm delivery, growth restriction, and congenital abnormalities.

More research is needed to define reproductive effects as well as effective and practical interventions to reduce exposure, the authors say. Prospective studies of women of reproductive age are needed to measure exposure levels and accurately record pregnancy outcomes.


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