Date: 06 Dec 2005

Minimal access surgery (MAS)-related surgeon morbidity syndromes

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Abstract

The benefits of minimal access surgery (MAS) in terms of accelerated recovery, reduced period of short-term disability, and patient outcome account for the widespread use of the laparoscopic approach by the majority of general surgeons. In adopting this approach with its current limitations and poor ergonomics, surgeons have been known to sustain surgery-related injuries encompassed by a spectrum best described as MAS-related surgeon morbidity syndromes, some of which are currently overlooked and poorly researched. Equivalent morbidities including the overuse syndrome (from overuse of certain muscle groups during long operations) have been documented in open surgery but are nowadays rare occurrences. As more advanced MAS operations are performed with long execution times, new patterns of neuromusculoskeletal injuries are being recognized. The surgical fatigue syndrome has also been described, though its complex nature is not fully understood. Virtually little is known on other long-term adverse effects on the surgeon following many years of operating from images displayed on a television monitor or LCD screen, and these include deterioration of visual acuity and function of the ocular muscles responsible for fixation–refixation of the eyeballs. The limited reported literature on the MAS-related surgeon morbidity syndromes identifies certain risk factors for these injuries pertaining to central and peripheral domains. Only improved knowledge of the etiology and underlying ergonomic factors based on investigative studies followed by improved instrumentation and operating room (OR) ergonomics will provide near- and long-term solutions.