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Surgeons are exposed to a variety of occupational risks, including work-related musculoskeletal disorders. This study investigated the prevalence of these latter disorders amongst UK ENT surgeons and compared this with the existing literature.
A survey containing questions on work-related musculoskeletal disorders was distributed to the entire membership of ENT-UK electronically, with the assistance of its Survey Guardian. A literature review on the subject was then performed.
A total of 323 completed questionnaires were received (a 24 per cent response rate). Work-related musculoskeletal disorders had been experienced by 47.4 per cent of respondents. There were no statistical differences between the occurrence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders and: grade, length of time spent in the specialty or the subspecialty of respondents. Eighty-five per cent of affected surgeons sought treatment, with 22.9 per cent taking time off work and six surgeons retiring early. The literature review only identified five related studies.
Despite the scarcity of studies, work-related musculoskeletal disorders are common amongst ENT surgeons in the UK. Such disparity highlights the need for more research and appropriate ergonomic intervention within the specialty.
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