The effect of supporting a surgeon's wrist on their hand tremor

Chris J. Coulson, Paul S. Slack, Xianghong Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Operative tremor can greatly influence the outcome of certain, precise, microsurgical operations. Reducing a surgeons tremor may not only improve the operative results but decrease the operative time. Previous studies have only measured uni or bi directional tremor and therefore have been unable to calculate both the overall tremor amplitude and the tremor reduction by resting the wrists.

Materials and methods. We measured the tremor of 21 neurologically normal volunteers while performing a micromanipulation task, with and without wrist support. Measurements were acquired in three dimensions using three accelerometers attached to the hand, allowing an overall tremor amplitude to be calculated.

Results. Resting the wrist on a gelled surface decreases an individuals tremor by a factor of 2.67 (P = 0).

Conclusions. Supporting the wrists significantly decreases the amplitude of the tremor. Surgeons should consider using wrist supports when performing parts of operations which necessitate a high degree of accuracy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)565-568
Number of pages4
Issue number7
Early online date30 Mar 2010
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


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