MuSEO study – Strategies for and Musculoskeletal Symptoms relieving and Ergonomy in Operating room: a prospective clinical trial.

It is known that surgical practice is physical demanding and requires not only a mental commitment, but also a physical effort due to the need to maintain specific postures for many hours and to repeat specific manoeuvres several times. Moreover, the development of laparoscopic and robotic surgery, as the possible use of lead gowns, has increased the physical commitment of surgical practice. Literature data report that the frequency of work-related symptoms varies between 74% and 87% among surgeons, thus negatively affecting quality of life (e.g loss of sleep, inability to perform free time activities, etc.). In addition, it is emerged the lack of knowledge concerning the principles of ergonomics that could be applied during surgical activity. These principles could improve musculo-skeletal symptoms, resulting in a positive effect on surgeons’ quality of life and, hopefully, a better surgical performance.

Aim of the study
This will be an international multicentre prospective study in which a specific questionnaire will be administered to residents and young specialists (under 40) of different surgical specialties that are subjected to different physical stresses. The following questions will be addressed:
– Symptoms reported
– Knowledge of ergonomics principles in the operating theatre
– Subjective assessment of the impairment of surgeon quality of life outside work
In the light of the results obtained, the participants will be subjected to different physiatric treatments and the questionnaire will be administered again after one month.

The proposed treatments will be:
1. Physiatric workshop (available online) lasting 45 to 60 minutes, in which the principles of ergonomics, postural errors and the remedies for their prevention will be illustrated
2. Physiatric workshop with short physical exercise programme focusing on the symptoms reported in the questionnaires
3. Not administering any treatment

Target audience:
The study will involve different centres and different surgical specialiies that use loopes, laparoscopy and robotics.

The following surgical specialties will be involved:
– General surgery
– Laparoscopic surgery
– Robotic surgery
– Plastic surgery and cardiac surgery (use of loopes and/or operating microscope)
– Orthopaedics (use of lead gowns)
– Gynaecology
– Urology

The involvement of different surgical specialties is needed in order to evaluate wheter the type of surgery performed could modify the reported musculoskeletal symptoms.

Reference center: Università degli Studi di Palermo

Principal investigator: Agrusa Antonino – Di Buono Giuseppe