January 2, 2018

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders in surgeons, interventionalists

By: Judy Mathias

Editor’s Note

The prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders in surgeons and interventionalists is high, this meta-analysis finds.

Of 5,828 physicians, there was:

  • degenerative cervical spine disease in 17%
  • rotator cuff pathology in 18%
  • degenerative lumbar spine disease in 19%
  • carpal tunnel syndrome in 9%.

From 1997 to 2015, the prevalence of degenerative cervical spine disease increased by 18.3%, and degenerative lumbar spine disease increased by 27%.

Of those with work-related musculoskeletal disorders, 12% required a leave of absence, practice restriction or modification, or early retirement.

Research is needed to develop and validate an ergonomics program to prevent musculoskeletal disorders in this population, the authors say.


 Question What is the prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders among at-risk physicians (surgeons and interventionalists)? Findings Among 21 articles (5828 physicians) included in this systematic review and meta-analysis, the 12-month prevalence estimates for neck, shoulder, back, and upper extremity pain were estimated.


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