Laparoscopy is a surgical technique with plenty of advantages for the patients. However, it can also be tough on the doctors who perform the surgeries, as the way doctors have to move and hold themselves during laparoscopy can easily cause musculoskeletal disorders, especially when the surgeons operate on overweight patients. The increased rate of musculoskeletal problems has been called "impending epidemic". Scary, isn't it?
In our paper "The ergonomic impact of patient body mass index on surgeon posture during simulated laparoscopy" we used inertial measurement units and the LUBA ergonomic framework to objectively quantify surgeon upper body postures during laparoscopic training on patient models that simulated BMIs ranging from 20 to 50 kg/m2 (from healthy to severely obese). We found - surprise surprise! - that surgeons had significantly worse upper body postures when working on the BMI 50 kg/m2 model compared to the baseline BMI 20 kg/m2 model.
What does this mean? In short, surgeons operating on patients with higher BMIs might have a significantly increased risk of musculoskeletal problems. As such, it is vital to identify ways to help surgeons maintain good posture during these procedures, particularly when working with patients who have higher BMIs (which, unfortunately, seems to be the trend nowadays).
Sers, R, Forrester, S, Zecca, M, Ward, S, Moss, E (2021) The ergonomic impact of patient body mass index on surgeon posture during simulated laparoscopy, Applied Ergonomics, 97, pp.103501-103501, ISSN: 0003-6870. DOI: 10.1016/j.apergo.2021.103501.