SurgeonCompared to open surgical techniques, there is no doubt that laparoscopy provides patients with improved safety, quicker recovery, shorter hospital stays, and cosmetic advantages — but at what cost to the surgeons?

New research has found that surgeons who perform laparoscopic surgery appear to experience greater physical stress and mental strain compared to open surgery. And the toll may be much greater than what was previously assumed.

A recent study by Adrian E. Park, MD, published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, sought to confirm the prevalence of minimally invasive surgery-related operator symptoms and discomforts within a broad population of laparoscopic surgeons. Of more than  300 laparoscopic surgeons who completed a comprehensive survey, nearly 87% reported experiencing physical discomfort or symptoms they attributed to performing minimally invasive surgery — a staggering statistic that extends far beyond previous estimated rates of discomfort, which ranged between 20% and 30%.

“Focus is always on the tip of the spear — where it will affect and interact with the patient,” Dr. Park explains to Physician’s Weekly. “More focus should be directed at the other end of the spear, where it’s being manipulated. Our survey results serve not only as a contribution to the scientific literature but a clarion call to all who have a stake in the quality and safety of surgical care.”

For more results from the survey, read the full article, Laparoscopy: Patients Benefit, But Do Surgeons Suffer?