Human Exposure to Hand-Arm Vibration from a Surgical Drill During Simulated Spine Surgery

Stacy R. Loushin, Courtney Pendleton, Robert J. Spinner, Kenton R. Kaufman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: During spine surgery, surgeons are exposed to vibrations from surgical drills. Increased exposure to vibration can result in neurologic, vascular, and musculoskeletal impairments. To reduce these risks, occupational health standards have been implemented to limit exposure levels. The purpose of this study was to quantify human exposure to hand-arm vibration from a surgical drill during a simulation of a common spine procedure. Methods: Vibration measurements were collected during three 30-second surgical trials on a fresh frozen cadaver torso specimen using a standard surgical drill. The daily vibration exposure A(8) was evaluated on the basis of International Organization for Standardization 5349-1, and the occupational health standards, exposure action value, and exposure limit value were calculated. Results: On the basis of vibration exposure, surgeons in this study reached their exposure limits in 8 minutes to monitor tool usage and 32 minutes to terminate equipment usage. Conclusions: The results demonstrate that a common surgical drill transmits hand-arm vibration levels approaching the exposure action value and exposure limit value over short periods of use. Further investigation is needed to determine the total vibration exposure over an entire workday, specifically in surgeons who perform multiple surgeries within a single day.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e307-e310
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Ergonomics
  • Musculoskeletal injury
  • Neurosurgery
  • Occupational injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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