Physical workload of upper body for open neck surgeons: pilot study
IETI Transactions on Ergonomics and Safety
Aim. To assess the workload during open neck surgeries on head, back, arms and descending trapezius part during the workday. Methods. A research took place at Karolinska University Hospital on 3 surgeons (subjects), who were measured during a whole workday. They performed the surgeries while wearing inertial measurement units (IMUs) that continuously track neck, shoulders, and torso motion without interfering with the sterile environment. Muscular load was recorded by electromyography (EMG).
... myography (EMG). Registrations were made bilaterally by surface electrodes on the descending part of trapezius muscle. During the measuring day the surgeon was followed by a research member who kept a protocol and was marking the start and end time of the most important tasks (i.e. surgery, administrative work 1 , breaks and lunch). Results. The results showed that during the lunch time the left descending trapezius worked on the most extreme positions and reached its peak activity, and the right trapezius reached its peak activity during the operations. In addition, breaks were described as non-demanding task, during which an extended period (29% of the time for the left arm and 25% for the right) spent for muscular rest (subjective and objective measures). Furthermore, surgeries were proved to be the most loading activity, among the four, for the head and the back, and breaks the one with the most variance in terms of joint movements. Conclusion. Open neck surgeries seem to be such a loading task for surgeons since they maintain a non-ergonomic posture for long periods, which is characterized of a general kyphotic position and abducted, unsupported arms ( Figure 1 ). Even though the abduction is mild its long maintenance makes it harmful for the surgeons' physical health and well-being.