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Objective: Robotic surgical systems offer better workplace in order to relieve surgeons from prolonged physical efforts and improve their surgical outcomes. However, robotic surgery could produce musculoskeletal disorders due to the prolonged sitting position of the operator, the fixed position of the console viewer and the movements of the limbs. Until today, no one study has been reported concerning the association between robotics and musculoskeletal pain. The aim of this work was verify the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders among Italian robotic surgeons. Material and methods: Between July 2011 and April 2012 a modified Standardized Nordic Questionnaire was delivered to thirty-nine Italian robotic centres. Twentytwo surgeons (56%) returned the questionnaires but only seventeen questionnaires (43.5%) were evaluable. Results: Seven surgeons (41.2%) reported musculoskeletal disorders, by since their first use of the robot which significantly persisted during the daily surgical activity (P < 0.001). Regarding the body parts affected, musculoskeletal disorders were mainly reported in the cervical spine (29.4%) and in the upper limbs (23.5%). Six surgeons (35.3%) defined the robotic console as less comfortable or neither comfortable/uncomfortable with a negative influence on their surgical procedures. Conclusions: In spite of some important limitations, our data showed musculoskeletal disorders due to posture discomfort with negative impact on daily surgical activity among robotic surgeons. These aspects could be due to the lack of ergonomic seat and to the fixed position of the console viewer which could have produced an inadequate spinal posture. The evaluation of these postural factors, in particular the development of an integrated and more ergonomic chair, could further improve the comfort feeling of the surgeon at the console and probably his surgical outcomes.
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