“Ergonomic” is a common descriptor for a desk or computer workspace but is a term rarely used to describe a surgical instrument. Instead, surgeons spend many hours in inconvenient positions, often using instruments that are not ergonomic. Improving the ergonomics of surgical instruments may decrease the required force for simple tasks and allow for more efficient surgery.
To evaluate the impact of ergonomic surgical instruments, the authors developed ergonomic screwdriver handles. The shape and size of these handles were engineered using previous dental studies and 3-dimensional modeling to create an ideal handle for specific glove sizes. Participants were recruited to test 3 different ergonomic handle sizes against a standard screwdriver while assessing digital peak force, digital contact area, and participant preference. Ten participants (3 women) with glove sizes ranging from 6 to 8 were evaluated.
Ergonomic screwdriver handles sized for glove sizes 6 and 7 required significantly less thumb peak force than the standard screwdriver for all participants (702 N for glove size 6 and 567 N for glove size 7 ergonomic screwdrivers, vs 1780 N for “one size fits all” standard screwdriver). Participants consistently preferred screwdrivers that required lower thumb and index finger forces. All ergonomic handles required lower thumb and index finger force. Eighty percent of participants preferred a screwdriver modeled within 1 glove size of their own.
Improved ergonomic handles require less force and are preferred by surgeons.
The significant decrease in thumb peak force for glove sizes 6 and 7 suggests that there is room for ergonomic improvement in instruments, especially for surgeons with smaller hands. Manufacturing ergonomic screwdriver handles and using the evolving convenience of 3-dimensional printing may help to develop a more comfortable work environment for surgeons.
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Published online: February 04, 2023
Accepted: December 14, 2022
Received: July 25, 2022
Publication stageIn Press Corrected Proof
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