Microsurgery Exposure Assessment and Intervention to Improve Musculoskeletal Health
Principal Investigator: Amro Abdelrahman, M.B.B.S. – PhD Student
Academic and Research Advisor: Valerie Lemaine M.D., M.P.H., F.R.C.S.C., F.A.C.S.; Susan Hallbeck, Ph.D., PE, CPE
Microsurgery is a widespread surgical practice where a growing number of healthcare professionals are working to deliver highly specialized surgical care (i.e., surgeons, trainees, and allied health staff) for very complex reconstructive problems. However, microsurgery is considered one of the most demanding surgical techniques and its effect on microsurgery professionals’ health, career longevity and satisfaction is not well understood and has yet to be studied. The long-term goal of the proposed research is to study the ergonomic risk exposure of microsurgery professionals, then develop and implement innovative ergonomic interventions to minimize the high prevalence of musculoskeletal health (MSH) symptoms and injuries for microsurgery professionals in many surgical subspecialties. The objective of this research proposal is to pilot the assessment of exposure to postural risk factors for MSH symptoms of the neck, shoulders, arms and hands for microsurgery professionals. Then use the pilot data to develop and implement one intervention into the microsurgery practice, an ergonomic armrest, and set up the evaluation parameters for future proposals for study. This proposed research is innovative because it will set up metrics to quantify the currently unsafe postures in microsurgery and result in the user-centered design of a novel cost-effective tool to facilitate the good ergonomic surgical practice and reduce MSH risk factors in microsurgery. This research is expected to have translational importance in the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) because it includes 1) quantitative measurements of MSH symptoms and workload of microsurgery professionals intraoperatively during full surgical workdays, 2) a quantitative metric for measuring hand tremor in microsurgery and 3) the development of an ergonomic, reliable, and cost-effective microsurgery armrest intervention that can reduce ergonomic risks factors for MSH fatigue, pain, and injuries among microsurgery professionals.