Assessing the importance of surgeon hand anthropometry on the design of medical devices

[+] Author and Article Information
Michael/A Stellon

Boston University School of Medicine Department of Graduate Medical Sciences, 1224 24th St NW Apt 703, Washington, DC 20037

Drew/R Seils

Medtronic Minimally Invasive Therapies Group, 60 Middletown Ave, North Haven, CT 06473

Christine/R Mauro

Medtronic Minimally Invasive Therapies Group, 555 Long Wharf Drive, New Haven, CT 06511

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4037257 History: Received October 15, 2016; Revised May 26, 2017


Improperly designed medical devices can induce unwanted biomechanical stressors on their users, impacting health and career longevity. Despite this, manufacturers struggle to balance device design with the growing female surgeon population. We've applied anthropometry to a population of surgeon hands as an alternative to preferred glove size. Correlations to physical dimensions of two laparoscopic staplers were assessed. Five anthropometric measurements were taken from dominant hands of surgeons. These measurements were selected with the goal of comparing resulting data to published anthropometry studies, and assessing correlation to preferred glove size and instrument design. The trigger reach of the two laparoscopic staplers were measured to assess suitability amongst the surgeon population surveyed. 58 surgeons (50 male, 8 female), average glove size 7.5 and 6.0, were measured. Data indicates male surgeons had significantly larger hands than female. Hand circumference displayed a relatively strong positive correlation with preferred glove size (0.799, R2 = 63.9%); other measurements did not. The trigger span of one stapler was found suitable for only 78.2% of male and 30.9% of female surgeons, based on comparisons with anthropometry of the surveyed population. Anthropometry should be used to characterize surgeon hands instead of preferred glove size. Also, from the limited scope of this research, discrepancies exist between the size of the surgeon hand and the devices designed for their use. The use of inappropriately designed instrumentation can cause musculoskeletal injury, decreased productivity, and shortened careers. Manufacturers would benefit by consulting anthropometry databases to develop products.

Copyright (c) 2017 by ASME
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