Identification of risk factors for fatigue and pain when performing surgical interventions

Alessandra Rodigari, Maurizio Bejor, Ettore Carlisi, Claudio Lisi, Carmine Tinelli, Elena Dalla Toffola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Evaluation of fatigue and pain following surgical activities. Methods: Cross-sectional study. We distributed a self-evaluation questionnaire to 180 surgeons to investigate working postures and fatigue and/or pain following working activities. Results: 100 surgeons replied (74 male), mean age 40.1 (SD 10.85; 26-65). Multivariate analysis suggests that the highest risk factor for developing muscle fatigue whilst performing surgical operations is standing compared to sitting (OR: 4.92; 95% CI: 1.32-18.33), followed by the ability to alternate between the two postures (OR: 3.46:95% CI: 1.26-9.52). Surgeons who complain of intense fatigue when standing have 16 times the risk of developing musculoskeletal pain than surgeons who complain of light fatigue when standing (OR: 15.77; 95% CI: 1.51-164.37). The ability to adjust the height of the operating table before each operation reduces the risk of developing musculoskeletal pain by 83% (OR: 0.17; 95% CI: 0.03-0.87); 90.9% of surgeons who rest their forearms for less than half the duration of an operation reported pain. Conclusions: Fatigue and pain associated with performing surgical interventions could be managed more effectively by: controlling the working posture, being able to rest forearms, being able to regulate the height of the operating table, and possibly by applying the ergonomic guidelines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)432-437
Number of pages6
JournalGiornale Italiano di Medicina del Lavoro ed Ergonomia
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


  • Fatigue
  • Pain
  • Posture
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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