How musculoskeletal injuries affect orthopaedic surgeons

Product Quick Finder

Choose a category or subcategory

Orthopaedic surgeons work in physically demanding environments, putting strain on their musculoskeletal system.1

A Problem and Implications

A number of studies have identified increased prevalence in the number of occupational injuries in orthopaedic surgeons.

Such studies have found that between 44% to 65% of orthopaedic surgeons suffer from work-related musculoskeletal injuries.1, 2 Specifically, 25% of respondents in one study reported having sustained injuries to the hand; 19%, to the lower back; 10%, to the neck; 7%, to the shoulder; and 6%, to another part of the body. 10% of surgeons surveyed had missed work as a direct consequence of such an injury, with 4% requiring extended time off.2

The combination of repetitive movements, the increased force required to operate surgical instruments and tools, and the number of hours worked per week adopting these body positions, is a likely contributor to the increased cases of upper-limb tendinitis, especially of the wrist and elbow.1 This predisposition to musculoskeletal disorders has negative consequences on surgeon function, undesirable patient outcomes, and imposes additional costs on health care systems.2, 3

An Ergonomic Solution

One intervention to prevent musculoskeletal injuries in orthopaedic surgeons is to target ergonomic solutions within the working environment.3 Given society’s significant investment in educating these practitioners, such solutions should start at the point where the next generation of surgeons begin training.4

B. Braun New SQ.line Ergonomic Instruments

A cadaver workshop was performed to test the function of the SQ.line® instruments. Orthopedic surgeons simulated different scenarios in hip surgery. 

Answering our customers’ needs we have introduced to the market the SQ.line basic instruments for orthopaedic surgery. The instruments are manufactured from high grade stainless steel and are used in orthopaedics for hip and knee endoprosthetics. These procedures are also physically strenuous for the orthopaedist and can put a great strain on his musculoskeletal system when performed daily.

A workshop testing was undertaken by surgeon’s trialling the SQ.line range where they simulated different scenarios in hip surgery. Conducted tests proved that a new design provides more grip in comparison to previous products which resulted in less force required to achieve a safe grip during use.5

The Results

The ergonomically designed SQ.line® instruments reduce pressure points and joint stress for the user. That minimizes the risk of stress pain. The design offers a good grip (70% more) due to flowing rounded shapes as well as large and structured gripping surfaces. The result: 25% less effort for a secure grip during use.5

The Awards for SQ.line


Aesculap AG, a subsidiary of B. Braun Melsungen AG, received together with its partner, the design agency WILDDESIGN®, an iF DESIGN AWARD 2020. The winning product, the SQ.line® basic orthopaedic instruments, won in the Product discipline, in the Health/Medical category. Each year, the world’s oldest independent design organization, Hannover-based iF International Forum Design GmbH, organizes the iF DESIGN AWARD.

SQ.line® won over the 78-member jury, made up of independent experts from all over the world, due to its ergonomic and sustainable properties as well as its particularly precise and careful manufacture. The competition was intense: 7,298 entries were submitted from 56 countries in hopes of receiving the seal of quality.

Red Dot Award: Product Design 2019

In the "Medical Devices and Medical Technology" product category, the jury found the SQ.line® basic orthopaedic instrument set to be particularly impressive due to its ergonomic and sustainable properties as well as its particularly precise and careful manufacture.

The Red Dot Award: Product Design is one of the world’s largest design competitions. In 2019, designers and manufacturers from 55 countries entered more than 5,500 products in the competition. The international jury comprises experienced experts from different disciplines and has been convening for more than 60 years in order to select the year’s best designs. True to the motto “In search of good design and innovation”, their assessment focuses on criteria such as the level of innovation, functionality, formal quality, longevity and ergonomics. The sought-after Red Dot is the revered international seal of outstanding design quality.


1. Saad M. AlQahtani, MD, MSc (candidate),* Mohammad M. Alzahrani, MD, MSc,* and Edward J. Harvey, MD, MSc; Prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders among orthopedic trauma surgeons: an  OTA survey; CanJ Surg. 2016 Feb; 59(1): 42–47.

2 Davis WT, Sathiyakumar V, Jahangir AA, Obremskey WT, Sethi MK; Occupational injury among orthopaedic surgeons; J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2013 Aug 7;95(15):e107

3. Ksk Tan , Ebk Kwek, Musculoskeletal Occupational Injuries in Orthopaedic Surgeons and Residents, Malays Orthop J. 2020 Mar;14(1):24-27. doi: 10.5704/MOJ.2003.004.

4. Michael L Knudsen, Paula M Ludewig , Jonathan P Braman, Musculoskeletal pain in resident orthopaedic surgeons: results of a novel survey, Iowa Orthop J. 2014;34:190-6.

5. Details concerning the conducted tests to proof all claims can be found at the AESCULAP® SQ.line® Homepage: