Introduction: Orthopaedic surgeons are significantly predisposed to musculoskeletal injury, and these injuries can have negative effects on surgeon function and patient outcomes. While this phenomenon has been studied in the non-Asian population of surgeons, no study has been carried out in the local or regional Asian setting. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence, characteristics and associations of occupational injuries in orthopaedic surgeons and residents, and to assess its functional impact.
Materials and Methods: The Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire was sent out to all orthopaedic consultants and residents at two institutions in Singapore, via an email link to an online survey. Separately, further questions on symptom description, severity and treatment were surveyed. Additional information like age, gender, height and weight were obtained as well.
Results: A total of 87.5% respondents have at least one injury. Neck symptoms (66.1%) were the most prevalent, and back symptoms had the highest median severity score (4.5/10). The 74.1% of these injuries were reported as directly attributable to work. Age was found to be associated with an increase in the total number of anatomical areas affected (p = 0.016). A seated operating position was associated with more severe back pain (p = 0.040).
Conclusion: There is a high prevalence of occupational injuries sustained in our population of orthopaedic surgeons. Neck symptoms, followed by back and wrist symptoms, were the predominant symptoms in our population. Targeted ergonomic interventions may be considered to prevent specific musculoskeletal injuries in our population of orthopaedic surgeons.
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