Endourologists reduce back stress with simple gel mats

February 1, 2011

A simple gel floor mat can bring back relief when frequently performing endourologic procedures, but for hand and wrist problems, the solution is not so simple.

Key Points

Chicago-A simple gel floor mat can bring back relief when frequently performing endourologic procedures, but for hand and wrist problems, the solution is not so simple, two recent, separate studies indicate.

Results of both studies were presented at the 2010 World Congress of Endourology and SWL in Chicago.

He added that performing several procedures day after day amplifies the physical burden.

The research team noted that one solution to the problem can be found in the kitchens of many American homes and restaurants. Inexpensive gel mats, placed on the floor in front of sinks to modify strain on dishwashers, also provide surgeons with a significant degree of release from the stress that builds when standing in one position for lengthy periods.

Dr. Gupta and colleagues randomized 84 endourologic procedures to be performed with the gel mats in place (41 procedures) or without mats (43 procedures). The surgeons completed a questionnaire designed to evaluate discomfort appearing preoperatively, intraoperatively, immediately postoperatively, and 24 hours postoperatively.

They found that, during lengthier procedures (>60 minutes), surgeons operating without the mats had a significantly greater need for stretching and postural changes to relieve stress. Surgeons who used the mats reported having significantly more energy after completing long procedures compared to those completing the same procedures without mats.

Those working without mats also reported greater hip and ankle discomfort 24 hours after a procedure. These problems were seen only following longer procedures.

"There are many things in surgery over which we have no control, but this [using gel floor mats] is a simple thing that can be done. It is inexpensive and can produce savings for the health care system because a surgeon who is less fatigued is going to be a more efficient surgeon," said Dr. Gupta, adding that the mats are available in most department stores.