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Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2015 Mar;272(3):631-8. doi: 10.1007/s00405-014-3154-8. Epub 2014 Jun 28.

Specific stressors in endonasal skull base surgery with and without navigation.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich, Germany,


The goal of modern organizational psychology is to recognize, anticipate and finally avoid stress situations. The aim of this study was to measure objectively the mental and physical demands during transnasal surgery with and without the aid of a navigation system. Forty endonasal surgeries (20 with and 20 without navigation, not blinded and not randomized) done by four different experienced rhinosurgeons (>250 FESS procedures done) were included. The heart rate, the heart rate variability, the respiratory frequency and the masseter tone were monitored as biometrical parameters by the surgeons during the whole surgery for the quantification of mental demand. Stress situations could be identified during the procedures by an increase in the heart rate and a decrease in the heart rate variability. Stress level in procedures with navigation did not significantly differ from procedures without navigation. Interestingly, in 10 % of the cases a navigation system would have been helpful, although the surgeon stated before the procedure that such a system would not be necessary. Other stressors could be identified like time pressure, students or colleagues speaking with the surgeon or chatting in the OR and system failure of medical devices, i.e. navigation, sinus drill, electrocautery or shaver. Surgical stressors blurred vision due to diffuse bleeding and drill out procedures in the sphenoid sinus. Calming situations were a quiet atmosphere in the OR (i.e. closed doors) and the participation of another experienced colleague, especially a neurosurgeon. Stress situations occur when complex medical devices like the navigation do not work. For their proper function it is important that the whole OR-team is trained with it. Unqualified or unmotivated OR personnel create stress for the surgeon and disharmony in the team, which then ends in inadequate behaviour.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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