Sitting versus standing makes a difference in musculoskeletal discomfort and postural load for surgeons performing vaginal surgery

Ruchira Singh, Ladin A. Yurteri-Kaplan, Melissa M. Morrow, Amy L. Weaver, Michaela E. McGree, Xinhui Zhu, Victor L. Paquet, John B. Gebhart, Susan Hallbeck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Introduction and hypothesis: We compared musculoskeletal discomfort and postural load among surgeons in sitting and standing positions during vaginal surgery. Materials and methods: Assessment of discomfort and posture of the primary surgeons in both positions was performed at two institutions. The primary outcome was an increase in body discomfort score after surgery as determined from subjective responses using validated tools. The secondary outcome was the percentage of time spent in awkward body postures measured objectively and stratified into awkward postures for neck, trunk, and bilateral shoulder angles. Variables were compared between sitting and standing positions using Fisher’s exact test for primary outcomes and Wilcoxon rank-sum test for secondary outcomes. Results: Data were collected for 24 surgeries from four surgeons in sitting position and nine surgeries from nine surgeons in standing position. The standing surgeons reported a significant increase in discomfort postoperatively for bilateral wrists, thighs, and lower legs compared with the sitting surgeons. The median percentage of time spent in awkward postures was significantly lower for the trunk in the standing versus sitting position (median 0.3% vs 58.8%, p < 0.001) but was significantly higher for both shoulders in the standing versus the sitting position (right shoulder: median 17.8% vs 0.3%, p = 0.003; left shoulder: median 7.4% vs 0.2%, p = 0.003). Conclusion: Surgeons reported more discomfort in when performing vaginal surgery while standing. The postural load was worse for trunk but favorable for bilateral shoulders when seated. Such differences may impact a surgeon’s decision to perform vaginal surgery seated rather than standing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-237
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Urogynecology Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 4 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Ergonomics
  • Musculoskeletal discomfort
  • Postural load
  • Vaginal surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Urology


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