The use of lower limb exoskeletons to reduce load during orthopedic surgeries

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Catarina SantosAna Teresa Videira GabrielCláudia QuaresmaIsabel L. Nunes

Abstract: During orthopedic surgeries, surgeons have to operate for long hours in a standing position, performing repetitive and/or forceful movements, and operating in sustained awkward postures, which raises the risk of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSD). Therefore, it is essential to find solutions that allow to reduce the exposure to risk factors while providing comfort, without affecting concentration during work.Lower limb exoskeletons can be considered an innovative assistance solution that helps workers perform their tasks by supporting the musculoskeletal system. Lower limb exoskeletons are wearable augmentative devices that work in concert with the user’s movements to provide physical assistance through torques or structural support. The exoskeleton moves with the user and is generally classified as an active or passive system, adding strength to the wearer. Therefore, these devices can be an opportunity to reduce muscular, joint, ligament, and bone stress at work, and potentially prevent WRMSD by physically assisting surgeons.Thus, surgical environments need to be improved to reduce the surgeon’s physical burden and enhance the quality of surgery. On that account, the main goals of this paper are: 1) to provide an overview of the risk factors related to the development of lower limb WRMSD, which are presented in orthopedic surgeries; 2) to explain how adopting lower limb exoskeletons might reduce the load experienced in the lower limbs; 3) identify current roles of existing lower limb exoskeletons; and 4) identify user needs and solutions requirements for future lower limb exoskeleton to be implemented in orthopedic surgery rooms.

Keywords: wearable devices, lower limbs, orthopedic surgery, work, related musculoskeletal disorders

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1003596

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