June 13, 2024

Study: Ergonomic guidelines needed for trainees assisting in minimally invasive procedures

Editor's Note

A prospective cohort study among general surgery residents in Singapore highlighted the need for ergonomic improvements and education for surgical trainees during minimally invasive abdominal surgery. 

Published May 31 in Scientific Reports, the study was limited by a small sample size and variability in respondent characteristics and practices. Still, researchers point out that lack of ergonomic guidelines for trainees specifically could result in higher rates of discomfort than primary surgeons. Greater insight could improve trainee well-being and career longevity in minimally invasive surgery.

The prospective, questionnaire-based study had two phases. The first involved surveys assessing physical discomfort and risk factors during major MAS. Among a total of 46 completed surveys, 82.6% showed residents reporting physical discomfort and 37% reporting severe discomfort. Significant risk factors included height extremes, seniority, longer surgeries, and complexity.

The second phase surveyed the effectiveness of ergonomic measures using SPSS software. Among 64 completed surveys, 81.3% showed ergonomic measures improving overall discomfort and 34.4% shoed improvement in severe discomfort. The most effective measures were separate monitors for surgeons and assistants and adjusting monitor angles. Preoperative surgeon education on ergonomics was also suggested.

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