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01.12.2014 | Review Article | Ausgabe 8/2014

Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery 8/2014

The ill surgeon: a review of common work-related health problems amongst UK surgeons

Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery > Ausgabe 8/2014
Ananth Vijendren, Matthew Yung, Jose Sanchez



Health-care workers are subjected to various occupational hazards within the National Health Service (NHS). Surgeons are not excluded from this group due to the nature of work carried out on a daily basis. As a result, we set out to investigate the common work-related health issues a surgeon practising in the UK may encounter.


A literature search conducted on PubMed, EMBASE, MEDLINE® and Health Management Information Consortium (HMIC) revealed 66 literature papers between the years 1990 and 2013. Thirty-seven were excluded from our review process for various reasons.


Surgeons in the UK are likely to be susceptible to stress, sharp injuries, burnout and psychiatric morbidities, substance abuse and musculoskeletal pain. Noise-induced hearing loss has been reported amongst orthopaedic surgeons due to the use of electric and air-powered drills and saws. No reports of skin-related illness, respiratory illness, nosocomial infections or malignancies were found within the published UK literature of our targeted group although they have been noted in other specialties.


These occupational hazards pose a huge risk to the NHS and the personal well-being of its surgeons. As such, the importance of early awareness and education alongside prompt intervention is duly emphasized.

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