LEARNING OBJECTIVES: After reading this study, the participant should be able to: 1. Recognize the primary physical and mental risks faced by the practicing plastic surgeon. 2. State the primary risk factors for cervical spine disease and back pain. 3. State the critical steps for protection from ionizing and nonionizing radiation. 4. List the characteristics of a surgeon exhibiting signs of burnout. 5. Develop a plan for mitigating personal risk of musculoskeletal, exposure, and other injuries. SUMMARY: Health care workers are exposed to significant occupational hazards, and have a risk of injury similar to that of construction, mining, and manufacturing employees. Plastic surgeons must have a clear understanding of the types of risks they face and the techniques for mitigating them. Exposure to some risks is attributable to unavoidable occupational conditions, but others can be avoided completely. The sources of injury risk from musculoskeletal, exposure, and other causes are discussed in this article, and evidence-based recommendations to ameliorate these risks are presented.
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