Study Focuses on Musculoskeletal Pain in General Surgeons
A study conducted by Ms Farzanah Desai, who graduated with a Masters in Sport Science from the College of Health Sciences, revealed that General Surgeons experienced a high prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal pain caused mainly by occupational dynamics.
Desai’s study, supervised by Dr TJ Ellapen, was titled: “The Point Prevalence of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Pain Among General Surgeons in KZN, South Africa”.
Her research was conducted on 76 General Surgeons working in the public health sector. Results indicated that 64% of the cohort experienced musculoskeletal pain mainly in the lower back region. The majority of the cohort opted for standing posture during surgical procedures with prolonged, sustained cervical, vertebral, glenohumeral and elbow flexion. Incorrect posture resulted in an escalating postural load, propogating musculoskeletal pain.
Work related musculoskeletal pain has been identified as a significant complaint lodged by health professionals. In addition it is a costly workplace problem affecting occupational health, productivity and the career of the working population.
Desai also stated that surgeons are required to possess a high level of intellectual preparation, be skillful with their hands, have physical endurance and proficient emergency response skills. Her study indicated that the majority of the cohort were fairly young in age with an average experience as surgeons of six years. The surgeons also spent 609 hours per year on surgical procedures, the majority involving open surgery.
Desai is currently lecturing in the Exercise and Sports Science degree course at the Universal College of Learning, Palmerston North, New Zealand.
She is also involved in various research projects and works at the U-Kinetics Clinic, a cardiovascular, respiratory and metabolic exercise rehabilitation clinic.
‘I’ve always gravitated towards education and teaching. I would love to embark on studies relating to tertiary education.
‘I am quite active - I play football on a social level, I train and participate in triathlons regularly and I am currently training to do the Tongariro Alpine Crossing - one of New Zealand’s most popular tramping tracks.’
She said she owed her every success, personal and academic, to her family. ‘They have been a constant source of support, motivation and inspiration.’
Desai grew up in the Midlands Meander district of KwaZulu-Natal, later attending Nizamia Islamic School in Pietermaritzburg before moving to Durban to study at UKZN.
- Nombuso Dlamini