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Examining the effectiveness of a lower back exoskeleton in reducing discomfort and workload in vascular surgery
Virtual Program Session
DescriptionMusculoskeletal disorders and intraoperative pain are prevalent among vascular surgeons which can negatively affect their surgical performance and quality of life. The effectiveness of a lower back support exoskeleton to reduce discomfort of the back, subjective fatigue, and the workload associated with performing vascular surgery was evaluated, as well as the participants’ intraoperative upper body postures. Three vascular surgeons were asked to rate their discomfort and fatigue before, during and after performing surgery, and their subjective workload post-operatively. Inertial measurement units (IMUs) were used to measure their intraoperative body postures. No significant differences were found between exoskeleton and baseline discomfort, fatigue, workload, or intraoperative postures. This indicates that although the exoskeleton did not restrict the vascular surgeons’ postures, this exoskeleton was ineffective at reducing their discomfort or workload. Future studies with exoskeletons specifically designed for healthcare applications may show more efficacy in reducing the ergonomic risks to surgeons.