Inside Banner Image

Our Blog

Occupational Hazards that Orthopedists Face

The environment surrounding the orthopedic specialty is known to put orthopedists in danger from several types of occupational hazards that include noise, infection, and smoke. In order to know how to avoid the risk, it is important to understand the exposure itself.

Using proper equipment and following protocol will help keep the orthopedist at a minimal amount of exposure. If an adjustment is needed for the practice, then an evaluation must be made so that there will be no additional hazards introduced. However, there are very few orthopedists who instill the use of protection regardless of how much evidence of a hazard exists.

Infection Hazard from Blood

From the time an orthopedist completes their residency training, they will have had at least one injury involving a needlestick. Many of these needlesticks will not be reported. With orthopedists being exposed to blood constantly, they are at a greater exposure risk of Hepatitis and HIV infection. The good sign is that the amount of burden that these infections can cause can be decreased through vaccines and other treatments given post exposure.

Surgery Smoke Inhalation

Inhaling smoke stemming from a surgical procedure is known to cause an adverse effect in the orthopedist´s health. Although this is true, not much evidence exists in regards to the effects happening in the long-term. However, by having available studies surrounding naturally occurring smoke in the environment, a better understanding of smoke stemming from a surgery can be achieved.

Surgery Noise

When an orthopedist is performing surgery involving tools, there will be a huge amount of noise produced. When there is an extensive amount of noise exposure, then the risk of hearing loss increases. This is especially true if the decibel level is above 70-dB.

Intraoperative Radiation Exposure

Because the use of intraoperative imaging is increased among orthopedic surgeries and used more often than other tools, the chances of radiation exposure also increases. Not only that, but the orthopedist must be in close proximity of the X-ray thus being unable to decrease their risk of exposure.

Chemical Exposure

Exposure to the chemical Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) can be traced to arthroplasty operations. The orthopedist faces a high risk of skin exposure and respiratory exposure, which can create toxic effects. Exposure to PMMA may also cause sensitization of the skin to orthopedists who are the most susceptible and make direct contact.


With an increased amount of hazardous exposure occurring to an orthopedist, the risks increase on a daily level. With exposure developing from air, blood, chemicals, and other elements, the need for protection also increases. If you believe that you have been exposed to the hazards above, then you need to give us a call today. We can give you more information on how to take safe precautions while working in surgery.

Posted in: Blog, Orthopedics