WTAP @ 5-To Your Health: Laparoscopy Hurts

By: Dr. Sanjay Gupta Email
By: Dr. Sanjay Gupta Email

Over the past two decades, laparoscopic surgery has been the procedure of choice for many people.

Unlike traditional surgery, laparoscopic surgeries are minimally invasive, many times requiring only a few small incisions.

The patient makes a quick recovery and there's little or no hospital stay.

Yet while providing benefits to patients, the laparoscopic techniques may be hurting the doctors who use them.

Here's Dr. Sanjay Gupta with today's Health Minute.

Dr. Adrian Park has been performing laparoscopic surgery for 18 years.

And although his patients benefit from the non-invasive procedures, the surgical techniques have taken their toll on him.

"I've already had my right wrist operated on and I'm about to get my left wrist operated on."

Laparoscopic surgeons use two wands, with forceps at the ends.

While looking something like Edward Scissorhands, the physician first makes three incisions to the body, two for the wands and one for the small camera that will guide them while watching the inner body image on a tv screen.

And although this is high tech, the surgeon is usually hunched over the patient in an uncomfortable position.

" A lot of the times in lap surgery we have our arms lifted out in static positions we are not moving them back and forth or holding them comfortably."

In fact in a recent study, conducted by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, 87 percent of more than 317 laparoscopic surgeons surveyed had experienced physical symptoms or discomfort, such as neck and shoulder pain and joint aches.

Because of these injuries, the medical school is now focusing on surgical movement.

If researchers can better understand how the procedure affects the surgeons' body, they may be able to find ways to eliminate injuries in the future.

For today's Health Minute, i'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

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