Environmental Sustainability in Orthopaedic Surgery: Abstract

Susannah McWilliam's picture


Resource Description: 

Abstract: Climate change has been increasingly recognized in the healthcare sector over recent years, with global implications in infrastructure, economics, and public health. As a result, a growing field of study examines the role of healthcare in contributing to environmental sustainability. These analyses commonly focus on the environmental impact of the operating room, due to extensive energy and resource utilization in surgery. While much of this literature has arisen from other surgical specialties, several environmental sustainability studies have begun appearing in the field of orthopaedic surgery, consisting mostly of waste audits and, less frequently, more comprehensive environmental life cycle assessments. The present study aims to review this limited evidence. The results suggest that methods to reduce the environmental impact of the operating room include proper selection of anesthetic techniques that have a smaller carbon footprint, minimization of single use instruments, use of minimalist custom-design surgical packs, proper separation of waste, and continuation or implementation of recycling protocols. Future directions of research include higher-level studies, such as comprehensive life cycle assessments, to identify more opportunities to decrease the environmental impact of orthopaedic surgery.

Resource File: 


Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Publication date: 

April, 2022

Resource type: 

  • other


Hi Susannah, this sounds very

Rebecca Griffiths's picture

Hi Susannah, this sounds very interesting. Do you know if the full version of this study is available anwyhere online as free open access? 

Environmental Sustainability in Orthopaedic Surgery: Article

Susannah McWilliam's picture

Hi Rebecca - I've added a pdf of the article into the original post so you will be able to access it there. All the best, Susannah

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