Obstetricians and gynaecologists (O&Gs) are at a risk of work‐related musculoskeletal injuries (WRMI) on a daily basis.
To describe the prevalence of WRMI among O&Gs in Australia and New Zealand, explore risk factors for such injuries, and evaluate their impact.
An online survey of Fellows of Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists was conducted in July 2016. It comprised questions on personal attributes, type of work, site and cause of WRMI, if any and treatment required.
We received responses from 765 O&Gs giving a response rate of 38.3% (765/1997). Four hundred and ten specialists (53.6%) reported suffering a WRMI at some point, including 252 (32.9%) who reported multiple injuries. In multivariable analysis, females had increased risk of WRMI (odds ratio (OR): 2.12; 95% CI: 1.54–2.91) and among generalists and subspecialists, gynaecological oncologists had highest risk for WRMI (OR: 3.13; 95% CI: 1.21–8.14). Commonest sites of injury were back (218/633, 34.4%) and shoulder (131/633, 20.7%). Laparoscopic surgery (117/633, 18.5%) was the commonest cause of injury. Treatment was required for 88.6% of injuries (561/633) including 8.4% (53/633) of cases which required surgery. Ongoing symptoms post‐injury were reported for 52.1% of injuries (330/633) and in 25.8% (163/633) of instances the practitioner needed to modify their scope of work.
This survey among a large cohort of O&Gs shows a high prevalence of WRMI with a profound negative impact on the practitioner and profession. There is a pressing need to advocate for improved ergonomics in their workplaces.