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Musculoskeletal Problems Common Among Plastic Surgeons

Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers help healthcare workers who developed musculoskeletal problems on the job.Every job comes with its own unique hazards, some being more debilitating than others. For plastic surgeons, the physical nature of the job leaves many doctors with significant musculoskeletal injuries and issues. Plastic surgeons in Norway, Canada, and the United States participated in a study recently published in the journal,  Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Out of 865 plastic surgeons, more than 79 percent suffered some degree of pain or discomfort directly related to their job. Experts hope that by identifying the inherent physical challenges facing plastic surgeons, modifications can be made to help doctors.

Pain Facing Plastic Surgeons

Plastic surgeons are prone to musculoskeletal injuries because their work requires them to keep their head in an unnatural position for hours at a time, adding pressure to the joints and muscles of the cervical spine. Surgeons who reach up to an operating table that is too high can fatigue the shoulder muscles. Turning or twisting to reach over a patient causes pelvic misalignment. Over time, these compromised postures can lead to:

  • Fatigue
  • Numbness
  • Pain
  • Stiffness

Most plastic surgeons interviewed in the study said they experienced most symptoms in their neck, shoulders, and back. Female physicians reported symptoms slightly more often than their male counterparts. Among plastic surgeons aged 45 to 54, 85 percent said they had discomfort or injury at some point in their career. Because of injury, plastic surgeons had to reduce their workload, take time off, and in many cases, seek surgical treatment that included hand surgery, spinal fusion, and carpal tunnel release.

Preventing Injuries

Authors of the study recommend surgeons take two primary steps to prevent injuries. First, doctors should prepare the operating room to encourage healthy movement and posture. The operating table should be at an ideal height to keep doctors from straining to reach up or bending to reach down.

Second, doctors should be fully aware of their posture and adjust when necessary throughout the work day. Static positions have been shown to increase neck pain in workers in several other professions, including postal work and dentistry. Stretch breaks every 30 to 40 minutes are a great way to recharge and correct poor posture.

Outside of the operating room, plastic surgeons can improve their overall health and wellness with strengthening and stretching exercises. Not only does exercise help to stabilize the core and spine, it increases wellness and improves blood flow.

Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Help Healthcare Workers Injured on the Job

For many types of healthcare workers, including physical therapists and surgeons, the demands of the job are highly-physical, often causing chronic pain and injuries. The Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC are dedicated to helping workers in all professions who have suffered a work-related injury or illness. To discuss your work injury, call us today at 302-888-1221 or contact us online today. We are in Wilmington, Delaware, and we proudly serve clients throughout the state.