Frequenza dei disturbi dell'apparato muscoloscheletrico negli ecografisti. Risultati di uno studio pilota

Translated title of the contribution: Frequency of musculoskeletal symptoms in diagnostic medical sonographers. Results of a pilot survey

Paoletta Mirk, Nicola Magnavita, Lucia Masini, Massimo Bazzocchi, Adriano Fileni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction. We report the results of a pilot survey in diagnostic medical sonographers. Aim of the study was to evaluate the frequency of musculoskeletal disorders in sonologists and the relationship of these symptoms to ergonomic factors. Materials and methods. 340 sonographers (258 male, 82 female doctors; mean age 41.5±7.2 years) were given a questionnaire to fill out. The questionnaire asked questions about the sonologist's age, gender, technique of ultrasound procedure, physical activity, and work-related musculoskeletal complaints. Two symptom lists regarded carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) symptoms (8 items) and other work-related musculoskeletal symptoms (13 items). The categorized response variables "have now" or "in the past" were provided. The symptoms experienced were categorized into three levels as no symptoms, few symptoms (1-4 symptoms), and many symptoms (>5 symptoms). Results. One third of the respondents reported having at least one or more work-related symptoms in the upper extremities. The most frequent symptoms were tingling (17.6%), numbness or finger pain (13.5%). Carpal tunnel syndrome had been diagnosed in 5 cases (1.5%). More than 60% of all respondents have experienced one or more musculoskeletal symptoms in the cervical or lumbar spine. The commonest symptom was neck and low back pain (67%). The pain was generally intermittent and occurred at the end of the workday. Motion impairment in the neck and/or back was present in 23.5% of cases. Twenty-five percent of respondents had received treatments for their symptoms and 10% reported having stopped work because of their symptoms. Data analysis showed that muscular efforts such as gripping the transducer, applying sustained pressure, and scanning with a correlated flexed or hyperextended wrist were significantly correlated with increasing severity of symptoms in the hand, wrist, and forearm area. On the other hand, low back pain appeared to be negatively correlated with correct position of the body. Conclusions. Several physical risk factors (e.g., repetitive work and force exertion, twisting of the body and poorly-adjustable chairs) have been identified for work-related upper extremity and spine disorders. Ergonomic redesign of the workstation configuration as well as allowing sufficient recovery time to body and arm muscles appear to be the main goals to achieve prevention of musculoskeletal disorders in sonographers.

Translated title of the contributionFrequency of musculoskeletal symptoms in diagnostic medical sonographers. Results of a pilot survey
Original languageItalian
Pages (from-to)236-241
Number of pages6
JournalRadiologia Medica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'Frequency of musculoskeletal symptoms in diagnostic medical sonographers. Results of a pilot survey'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this