The impact of intraoperative microbreaks with exercises on surgeons: A multi-center cohort study

M. S. Hallbeck, B. R. Lowndes, J. Bingener, A. M. Abdelrahman, D. Yu, A. Bartley, A. E. Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Recent literature has demonstrated ergonomic risk to surgeons in the operating room. One method used in other industries to mitigate these ergonomic risks is the incorporation of microbreaks. Thus, intraoperative microbreaks with exercises in a non-crossover design were studied. Fifty-six attending surgeons from 4 Medical Centers volunteered first in a day of their regular surgeries and then second day where there were microbreaks with exercises that could be performed in the sterile field, answering questions after each case, without significantly increasing the duration of their surgeries. Surgeons self-reported improvement or no change in their mental focus (88%) and physical performance (100%) for the surgical day incorporating microbreaks with exercises. Discomfort in the shoulders was significantly reduced while distractions and flow impact was minimal. Eighty-seven percent of the surgeons wanted to incorporate the microbreaks with exercises into their OR routine. Intraoperative microbreaks with exercises may be a way to mitigate work-related musculoskeletal fatigue, pain and injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)334-341
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Ergonomics
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • Microbreaks
  • Physical and mental performance
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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