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Home Forums General Ergonomics Topics Musculoskeletal problems in breast screening

This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Susan Murphey 10 years, 3 months ago.

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    I have recently been doing some work with Radiographers working in breast screening as they were reporting discomfort, particularly in the right thumb and C spine. We have observed some screening and undertaken REBA analyses on various postures and most (unsurprisingly) came out with very high scores. The department are quite forward thinking and have tried to improve practice by using a stool when positioning the patient for the lateral view. This has gone some way to improve general posture, however, it has obviously had no effect on the hand, wrist and thumb positions. I would be interested to hear from anyone who has done work in this area, particularly to hear about any recommendations made to try and improve hand, wrist and thumb posture.


    Susan Murphey

    We have also seen the same neck, wrist and hand issues in working with mammographers (radiographers) along with other complaints such as left shoulder pain from reaching up to the controls for compressing the breast tissue. Many of the risk factors are inherent in the current design of the equipment and we have started into discussions with the originial equipment manufacturers to consider design changes, but unfortunately, this is a slow process.

    The implementation of using a stool has helped to address the C-spine issues in our experience as well. Let me know if you need resources. Much of the hand and thumb issues are related to having to push against a fairly rigid spring to release the film cassette. More hand and wrist issues come into play as a result of the pinch grip used to pull the cassette out of the slot (film buckey) once it has been released. Some of this can be addressed through training such as using the heel of the hand rather than the thumb to release the film cassette. Other solutions rely on modifications to the equipment which may or may not require the involvement of the OEM, such as attaching a small handle to the side of the cassette to avoid the pinch grip, etc.

    I hope this helps.


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