Surgeons, interventionists face high risk of orthopedic disorders

A study, published in JAMA Surgery, examined the prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders among at-risk physicians, namely surgeons and interventionalists.

Researchers conducted a systematic search in MEDLINE, Embase, Web of Science, PubMed and two clinical trial registries for studies reporting on the prevalence and prevention of work-related musculoskeletal disorders among at-risk physicians. They searched for studies published up to December 2016.

They performed a meta-analysis of 21 articles, involving 5,828 physicians who spend an average of 14.4 hours performing procedures per week.

Here are four study findings:

1. The most common work-related musculoskeletal disorders were:

● Degenerative cervical spine disease
● Rotator cuff pathology
● Degenerative lumbar spine disease
● Carpal tunnel syndrome

2. From 1997 to 2015, the prevalence of degenerative cervical spine disease increased by 18.3 percent and degenerative lumbar spine disease increased by 27 percent.

3. Of those physicians with a work-related musculoskeletal disorder, 12 percent required a leave of absence, practice restriction or modification or early retirement.

4. Pooled prevalence estimates for pain ranged from 35 percent to 60 percent.

"The prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders among at-risk physicians is comparable to that reported among high-risk workers (eg, laborers); given the impending physician shortage, this problem warrants prompt attention and action," study authors wrote.

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