Journal of Ergonomics

Journal of Ergonomics
Open Access

ISSN: 2165-7556


Assessment of Obstetrician-Gynecologists Performing Laparoscopic Surgery: Study of Hand Size and Surgical Instruments

Jing Huang and James D McGlothlin

The hypothesis of this study is that small-handed female obstetrician-gynecologists (OB/GYNs) experience more physical stress while performing laparoscopic surgery compared to large-handed OB/GYNs. The size and grip and pinch strength of surgeon’s hands were measured and compared to the average size hands of females and males reported in the U.S. anthropometric literature databases on body dimensions. A descriptive questionnaire was administrated to six OB/GYN surgeons (five females and one male) to obtain general background information, including personal work experience and musculoskeletal disorders symptoms (MDSs). Operating room assessment using Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA), a standard ergonomic assessment tool, and photographs/video that recorded body postures and motions of the surgeons was performed to identify risk factors of work-related

MSDs. Primary findings from this study included:

1. Small-handed female OB/GYNs reported difficulty using laparoscopic instruments.

2. Small-handed female OB/GYNs experienced more physical stress according to RULA and questionnaire results while performing laparoscopic surgery compared to large- handed male and female OB/GYNs in this study.

3. Awkward postures tended to be more prevalent among smaller OB/GYNs as a function of surgical workstation layout and laparoscopic hand tools.

Based on the observation, laparoscopic instruments need to be reengineered to help reduce the physical stress for small-handed surgeons.