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Laparoscopic surgery helping patients, hurting docs

Minimally invasive surgery that has become popular for everything from gallbladder to weight loss surgery seems to be good for everyone but the surgeons, according to a story in the today's Sun.

The surgery requires the doctors to use small instruments through small incisions in the patient and follow the procedures on a video monitor usually above their heads. All that repetitive movement, leaning over patients in awkward positions and standing still has taken a toll.

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Doctors' hands, necks, backs and other parts are getting sore -- some 87 percents reported some discomfort in a new survey from the University of Maryland Medical Center. Dr. Adrian Park, chief of general surgery and the report's chief author, said that the careers of the doctors are at stake if nothing is done. And that could mean fewer surgeons trained, experienced and available to do the laparoscopic surgery.

Park is planning more research into the area, and wants other to join him, so new guidelines and equipment can be developed that may help reduce pain for surgeons.

So, have you had laparoscopic surgery and did you have a good outcome? Are you now concerned about the health of your doctor?

Baltimore Sun photo of Dr. Park/Gene Sweeney Jr.

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