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The Latest from MezLight

Consider the Real Cost

by MezLight on August 13, 2021

Good lighting is an essential element in performing surgical procedures efficiently and accurately to produce the best possible patient outcomes. Overhead lighting in the OR is good for general illumination but has limitations when it comes to providing focused light on patient anatomy especially in deeper cavities and flaps.

Headlights are one solution to this issue. However, keeping the headlight trained on the area of interest often requires a surgeon to hold their head and neck in an ergonomically poor position for extended periods of time. This can result in serious pain, c-spine disorders that require surgical intervention, and even lead to early retirement.

The physical cost of surgery on the surgeon is something that does not get enough attention.

  • 80% of physicians experience significant pain when performing surgery.1
  • 50% of surgeons believe headlights contribute to c-spine disorders.2
  • 17% of surgeons have c-spine disorders.3
  • 90% of surgical oncologists surveyed experienced at least one symptom of ergonomic injury, while 28% reported an ergonomic injury or chronic condition.4
  • Surgeon WMSDs are prevalent, with rates ranging from 66% to 94% for open surgery. Risk factors for injury in open surgery include use of loupes, headlamps, and microscopes.5

Traditional Surgeon Headlights are hard on surgeons

In addition to the negative effects on the surgeons themselves these issues can cause lost revenue and additional expenses to the healthcare organization. Three datapoints from different studies shed light on the potential costs incurred by institutions.

  • The cost of spine and orthopedic surgery for a surgeon with musculoskeletal injury varies depending on the situation. According to Becker's Spine Review (2018) the average cost for single-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion is $14,000 and single-level posterior lumbar fusion is $26,000.
  • Based on the average revenue generated by general surgeons ($2.7M/yr), the loss of a surgeon for 2 weeks due to injury equates to at least $103,800 of lost revenue for an organization.6
  • For an organization, the cost of physician burnout can range from $500,000 to more than $1M per doctor. This estimate includes recruitment, sign-on bonuses, lost billings, and onboarding costs for replacement physicians.7

MezLight can help relieve back and neck pain for surgeons

MezLight is designed as an alternative to or augmentation of the surgeon’s headlight. The simple fact that the light is not on the surgeon’s head means that they have the freedom to move as they wish and take microbreaks without moving the light from the field of interest. This freedom of movement gives the neck and back a break from a static position, greatly decreasing the chance of pain and injury.

We believe that the wellbeing of surgeon’s is vital to producing good outcomes for their patients, longer careers in surgery, and financial sense for the organization or institution. This is a clear win-win situation for all stakeholders!

1Sherise Epstein, MPH1,2; Emily H. Sparer, ScD1; Bao N. Tran, MD2; et al. Prevalence of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders. JAMA Surg. 2018 Feb 21;153(2):e174947

2Ergonomics in Surgery: A Review; Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery: January/February 2018 - Volume 24 - Issue 1 - p 1–12

3JAMA Surgery Meta-analysis of 135 studies. Over 7,000 surgeons we’re questioned using the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire 2017 Journal of the American College of Surgeons

42017 Do No Harm, Except to Ourselves? A Survey of Symptoms and Injuries in Oncologic Surgeons and Pilot Study of an Intraoperative Ergonomic Intervention; Journal of the American College of Surgeons

5Ergonomics in Surgery: A Review; Catanzarite, Tatiana MD; Tan-Kim, Jasmine MD, MAS†; Whitcomb, Emily L. MD, MAS; Menefee, Shawn MD, How much revenue do general surgeons generate for hospitals?, August 2019

7AMA, How much physician burnout is costing your organization, October 2018


Topics: Sterile, Sterility in the OR, getlit, mezrich, ergonomics, mezlight, operatingroom, surgicalluminaire, ORlighting