Physical fitness and WRMSD: The Best Defense is a Good Offense
One of the common questions I get during talks is about the best exercise(s) for optimizing surgical ergonomics. Let’s be honest, our bodies are our tools and we need to take care of them, much like a cab driver has to maintain the source of their livelihood i.e. their vehicle. This was a lesson I […]
Ergonomics and the Pregnant Surgeon
I recently recorded a podcast for Cold Steel and one of the hosts referenced a couple of my blogs during the interview. It made me realize that it had been far too long (12 months) since I had last written one. Time does go by really fast when you’re having fun sharing your passion on […]
To mat or not to mat in the OR – that is the question
It will soon be 3 whole months since the newly minted Society of Surgical Ergonomics website went live, on the same day that Dr. Sue Hallbeck and I gave our Keynote presentation at the University of Toronto’s Department of Surgery Faculty Development day. Since then, the society’s membership and Twitter following have continued to grow […]
What’s culture got to do with it?
It has been a lovely but very busy Fall season, during which I’ve given several invited talks on the topic of surgical ergonomics. Although the specific audience and focus of each talk has been different, a common theme has emerged. I’ve noticed that every time the subject of taking breaks during surgery is brought up, […]
Surgical Ergonomics and Myofascial Pain Syndrome: What’s the connection?
In a previous post, I described why surgeons develop many work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSD). Almost everyone develops muscle pain at some point in their lives, and it usually resolves within a few days or weeks. Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MPS), however, is a chronic condition that affects muscles and the overlying fascia. How is MPS diagnosed?While […]
What are the most common types and sites of injuries in surgeons? Is my specialty at risk?
It Can Happen to You “Can you sniff the incision? Does it smell good?” asked the Senior attending I was working with that day in my PGY2 year. I was perplexed at the query, so he proceeded to explain. “Your neck is bent so forward that you’re going to have a lot of pain at […]
What contributes to and worsens WRMSD in surgeons?
The term “ergonomics” refers to the scientific study of human work. Over the last century, Industrial ergonomics has identified many principles of good ergonomic design in order to mitigate risk factors in the work environment, and hence reduce the risks of injury. Despite these advances, the surgical work environment remains largely unchanged, at least for […]
Steps you can take TODAY to improve your surgical ergonomics
Improving ergonomics in the OR involves looking at both the surgeon and their work environment. While certain aspects of both these facets cannot be changed (e.g. surgeon height, patient anatomy) others are within the scope of the individual surgeon. Be aware of your posture in the OR and take measures to optimize it. Ensure that […]