Ergonomic Issues in Minimally Invasive Surgery: Is It Time to Educate the Educators

Alok K Gupta, MD, Namrata Singhania, MD

St Agnes Hospital, Baltimore, MD; Franklin Square Hospital, Baltimore, MD

Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) has brought great improvements to patient care and has become the standard of care for procedures like Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy. Since its introduction 20 years ago, the field has undergone significant advancements with improvements in the instruments, cameras & monitors and with introduction of Robotic Surgery.

Despite these, there are fundamental issues with laparoscopic surgery that cause significant ergonomic challenges for the surgeon in the operating room. Some of these issues are the disassociation between the visual and the working field, fixed working points and limited tactile sensations etc. Also, there are factors like operating table height; monitor position etc. which if not placed suitably can lead to significant strain on the surgeon especially during long procedures.

Research on the ergonomic issues facing a surgeon in MIS is still in infancy. One of the reasons is that the evaluation of stress and strain to surgeons during procedures can be technically challenging. But the biggest reason is in the fact the most of the surgeon are either unaware or only slightly aware about these issues. Also, there is a strong lack of educational materials on them even in the leading MIS textbooks. No wonder it is one of the least taught subjects during residency training.

The first step to solve a problem is to realize that there is one. Waiting further might cause further damage to our surgical work-force. We therefore think that it is high time that we increase the awareness about the ergonomic challenges that MIS surgeons are facing today. We think that frontline organizations in MIS like SAGES should play a strong role in educating the educators so that they can assume a stronger responsibility towards teaching ergonomics to our residents to create a better prepared surgical work-force for these issues and challenges facing MIS.

Session: Poster Presentation

Program Number: P395

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