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Plastic Surgeons at High Risk for Work-Related Musculoskeletal Injuries

Study reveals that nearly 80 percent of plastic surgeons surveyed had musculoskeletal symptoms.

/EIN News/ -- Arlington Heights, Jan. 12, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Plastic Surgeons at High Risk for Work-Related Musculoskeletal Injuries


Plastic surgeons are more susceptible to developing painful musculoskeletal conditions than the general population – and any other surgical field due to the specialty’s strenuous physical demands and high stress levels, reports a new study in the January issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Musculoskeletal symptoms are common among plastic surgeons

The study reveals that nearly 80 percent of plastic surgeons surveyed had musculoskeletal symptoms, and the most common factors were long hours performing surgery, tissue retraction and prolonged neck flexion. The results suggest that plastic surgeons need to make their health and well-being a priority inside and outside the operating room. The study’s authors developed a survey to evaluate the prevalence and nature of musculoskeletal injuries in plastic surgeons in the United States, Canada and Norway and to find possible solutions to address these injuries.       

“Surgeons brave long training, arduous work hours, and high stress levels to improve their patients’ lives,” ASPS President Jeffrey Janis, MD, senior author of the study. “In the process, they often neglect their own physical and mental health. Indeed, there is growing recognition that surgeons must address their own health if they wish to be effective healers of others, and that physician well-being is essential for satisfactory patient outcomes.”

U.S surgeons, Norwegian surgeons and Canadian surgeons felt that microsurgery, breast augmentation and liposuction were the procedures most likely to trigger their symptoms. Although the three populations share similarities, more U.S. plastic surgeons performed cosmetic surgery, while more Canadian and Norwegian surgeons performed microsurgery. While analyzing the data, researchers discovered a significantly higher prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal symptoms in U.S. surgeons than in Norwegian surgeons, who perform high volumes of microsurgery but have the lowest rate of symptoms. They also found that female surgeons were at a higher risk for musculoskeletal injuries than male surgeons.

Due to these findings and the numerous ergonomic errors that occur in the operating room, the authors recommend that plastic surgeons arrange their operating rooms to fit them ergonomically, remain cognizant of their posture during surgery and make frequent adjustments when necessary.  

“Our study confirms that musculoskeletal symptoms are very common among plastic surgeons,” Dr. Janis says. “To sustain a long and productive career, plastic surgeons must pay attention to established ergonomic principles in the operating room, and condition their body outside the operating room. Our survey delineates the prevalence and nature of musculoskeletal injuries in plastic surgeons, and helps develop specific recommendations to reduce the incidence and severity of those injuries.”

About Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
For more than 70 years, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery® has been the one consistently excellent reference for every specialist who uses plastic surgery techniques or works in conjunction with a plastic surgeon. PRS, the official journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, brings subscribers up-to-the-minute reports on the latest techniques and follow-up for all areas of plastic and reconstructive surgery, including breast reconstruction, experimental studies, maxillofacial reconstruction, hand and microsurgery, burn repair, and cosmetic surgery, as well as news on medico-legal issues.

About ASPS
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) is the world's largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons. Representing more than 7,000 Member Surgeons, the Society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on aesthetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises more than 94 percent of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. Founded in 1931, the Society represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. ASPS advances quality care to plastic surgery patients by encouraging high standards of training, ethics, physician practice and research in plastic surgery. 

About Wolters Kluwer
Wolters Kluwer is a global leader in professional information services. Professionals in the areas of legal, business, tax, accounting, finance, audit, risk, compliance and healthcare rely on Wolters Kluwer's market leading information-enabled tools and software solutions to manage their business efficiently, deliver results to their clients, and succeed in an ever more dynamic world.



A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Adam Ross
                    American Society of Plastic Surgeons

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