To review occupational ergonomic risks for the Otologist and Neurotologist.
MEDLINE, OVID, PubMed, and Google Scholar.
A search was conducted to identify all studies in the English language that involve ergonomic-related risks for surgeons.
Occupational hazards, particularly musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), are common in the surgical community in general and among Otolaryngologists in particular. Very few studies have been conducted assessing MSDs specific to Otologists and Neurotologists. However, extrapolating from other surgical professions with similar ergonomic postures in the operation room and office, one can infer that cervical and lumbar pain are related to prolonged static sitting and neck flexion when working with a microscope and begins early in training. Early institution of correct ergonomic training is feasible and may be effective. Improved ergonomic habits include upright sitting, avoidance of neck flexion, initiating short breaks, and the use of chairs with arm and back support. Future technologies incorporated into otologic surgery should have improved ergonomic design.
Otologists and Neurotologists are exposed to MSDs directly related to their work demands. Incorporating healthy ergonomics into surgical training as well adopting correct posture and the use equipment designed for back support may help mitigate the long-terms risks of MSD.