Injuries sustained by colorectal surgeons performing colonoscopy
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Repetitive tasks in the workplace are one cause of injury. This study aimed to identify injuries specific to physicians routinely performing colonoscopy, and to identify prevention strategies.
A survey was sent to all 2,173 worldwide members of the American Society for Colon and Rectal Surgery to investigate injuries or disabilities that resulted from performing colonoscopy and the methods used to prevent and alleviate symptoms related to the procedure.
The response rate was 28%. Of the respondents, 96% performed colonoscopy. At least one injury or pain believed to result from performing colonoscopy was reported by 39% of the respondents. The most frequently reported injuries were to hands and fingers (n = 257), neck (n = 65), and back (n = 52). The methods adopted to alleviate injury included changing the height of the stretcher or video monitor, changing from a standing to a sitting position, minimizing torque on the colonoscope, having an assistant perform the torque maneuver, and resting or taking time off from colonoscopy. Two respondents also created devices to make the instrument more ergonomic.
The number of colorectal surgeons encountering injury from colonoscopy highlights the need for preventive strategies. The study results suggest that it may be necessary to improve the design of colonoscopes to make them more ergonomic. Appropriate positioning of the endoscopist, patient, and monitors may diminish some of the injuries encountered.