AORN Ergonomic Tool 5: Tissue Retraction in the Perioperative Setting

AORN J. 2011 Jul;94(1):54-8. doi: 10.1016/j.aorn.2010.08.031.


Manual retraction, a task performed to expose the surgical site, poses a high risk for musculoskeletal disorders that affect the hands, arms, shoulders, neck, and back. In recent years, minimally invasive and laparoscopic procedures have led to the development of multifunctional instruments and retractors capable of performing these functions that, in many cases, has eliminated the need for manual retraction. During surgical procedures that are not performed endoscopically, the use of self-retaining retractors enables the assistant to handle tissue and use exposure techniques that do not require prolonged manual retraction. Ergonomic Tool #5: Tissue Retraction in the Perioperative Setting provides an algorithm for perioperative care providers to determine when and under what circumstances manual retraction of tissue is safe and when the use of a self-retaining retractor should be considered.

MeSH terms

  • Ergonomics*
  • Perioperative Care*
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / methods*