, Volume 21, Issue 10, pp 1835-1840,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 14 Mar 2007

A newly designed ergonomic body support for surgeons

Abstract

Background

One of the main ergonomic problems during surgical procedures is the surgeon’s awkward body posture, often accompanied by repetitive movements of the upper extremities, increased muscle activity, and prolonged static head and back postures. In addition, surgeons perform surgery so concentrated that they tend to neglect their posture. These observations suggest the advantage of supporting the surgeon’s body during surgical procedures. This study aimed to design a body support and to test its potential.

Methods

The optimum working condition for a surgeon is a compromise between the spine and arm positions and the level of effort and fatigue experienced performing a procedure. The design vision of the Medisign group has led to the development of an ergonomic body support for surgeons that is suitable for use during both open and minimally invasive procedures. The feasibility of the newly designed ergonomic body support was assessed during seven surgical procedures. Electromyography (EMG) was performed for back and leg muscles using the body support in an experimental setting.

Results

Six of seven participating surgeons indicated that the body support was comfortable, safe, and simple to use. The EMG results show that supporting the body is effective in reducing muscle activity. The average reduction using chest support was 44% for the erector spinae muscle, 20% for the semitendinosus muscle, and 74% for the gastrocnemius muscle. The average muscle reduction using semistanding support was 5% for the erector spinae, 12% for the semitendinosus muscle, and for 50% for the gastrocnemius muscle.

Conclusion

The results of this study imply that supporting the body is an effective way to reduce muscle activity, which over the long term may reduce physical problems and discomfort. Additionally, the product supports the surgeon in his natural posture during both open and minimally invasive procedures and can easily be adapted to the current layout of the operating theater.