Education| Volume 189, ISSUE 2, P207-212.e6, June 15, 2014

Musculoskeletal occupational injury among surgeons: effects for patients, providers, and institutions

Published:March 17, 2014DOI:



      The aim of this study was to determine the risk of occupational musculoskeletal injury during a surgeon's career and the effects of these injuries for patients, providers, and institutions. We hypothesized that surgeons have occupational injuries, which affect work performance.

      Materials and methods

      Electronic RedCAP surveys on workplace injury were distributed statewide via e-mail to the members of the Tennessee chapter of the American College of Surgeons. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze survey data.


      A total of 260 of 793 surveys (33%) were returned. Forty percent of surgeons sustained ≥1 injuries in the workplace. Although 50% of injured surgeons received medical care for their most recent injuries, only 20% of these injuries were reported to their institution. Twenty-two percent of injured surgeons missed work and 35% performed fewer operations while they were recovering from their injury. Fifty-three percent of injured surgeons reported that pain from their injury had a minimal or moderate effect on their performance in the operating room.


      Surgeons appear to be at moderate risk for occupation-related injuries. The low rate of institutional reporting for these injuries is concerning, as this is a required step to access institutional support once injured. Surgeon injury results in lost productivity due to missed workdays and may impact the quality of surgical care because of performance issues while recovering from injury.


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