Ergonomics – the study of human efficiency in the workplace – began empirically when humans first started to use tools and find ways to make them easier and more efficient to work with. Only in the mid-nineteenth century did ergonomics begin to emerge as a formal science that has since gained importance in every field of human endeavor that involves a man/machine interface, including surgery. Though surgeons have always been susceptible to work-related musculoskeletal disorders, following the introduction in recent decades of a proliferation of minimal access and robotic surgical technologies, serious attention is finally being given to the relationship of surgical ergonomics and the surgeon’s health.
KeywordsErgonomics Minimally invasive surgery Minimal access surgery Robotic surgery Laparoscopic surgery
The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Eugenia Lamont in performing the literature search and drafting the text.
Further, the authors thank Martin Stelzer, medical photographer and illustrator at the Medical University of Graz, for illustrations and for providing Fig. 20.1a for this chapter.
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