SurgiTel’s Ergonomic Loupes Freed Me From Neck Pain
Amjad Ansari, BDS, MJDF 1, RCS (UK)
Amjad Ansari BDS is a graduate of the University of Manchester, UK. He has been in private practice doing general dentistry, with a special interest in Endodontics and CAD-CAM restorative procedures for the past nine years. Dr. Ansari currently lives and works in Doha, Qatar after several years in private practice in Yorkshire, England.
I had my first encounter with dental magnification loupes during dental school. Mainly other students opted for a flip-up design which seemed to be heavy and cumbersome. And they almost exclusively started out with 2.5x magnification loupes. Having seen various different types of loupes I decided to be different from other students. I decided on starting out with a higher than normal magnification for students as I quickly recognized the benefits of higher magnification and purchased a pair of 3.5x Designs for Vision Galilean through-the-lens (TTL) loupes.
These loupes served me well initially during my time in school. But I found out later was that problems were developing without my realizing them. Being young, energetic, and very fit was masking problems I was developing from continuous neck strain.
Ergonomically these loupes were not helping me, despite multiple adjustments. I was straining to hold the posture these loupes required. I contacted the company but was told that there was no way to improving the “look-down” or declination angle of 28 degrees on my loupes (the amount of downward head tilting required to get the oral cavity in view). After a period of time, I just accepted this was the way loupes were meant to be and proceeded to upgrade to a higher magnification. I stuck with the same company and purchased Designs for Vision 4.5x prismatic loupes. When paired with a headlight I was happy with the magnification.
Over the next few years, I began experiencing significant neck pain. Again I contacted the company and was told that my loupes were set at the maximum declination angle of 28 degrees and no further adjustments were possible. However now I was at the point in my career where my neck pain was not getting better with exercising and stretching and something had to be done.
I started by looking into a dental microscope purely for the ergonomics but found this was not practical. About this time I took up a job in the Middle East (Doha, Qatar) away from my home country (England, UK). Here I developed a very keen interest in endodontic treatment and was performing several endodontic procedures daily. Although professionally rewarding and thoroughly enjoyable, being in a fixed position for long periods of time was really taking its toll on my neck.
Realizing that loupes were a large part of the problem I started researching alternatives again. This time I came across articles on Dentaltown discussing ergonomic loupes and SurgiTel was one of the recommended companies. I checked their website and was interested in the range of loupes on offer and especially the focus on ergonomics. I came across review articles with leading clinicians genuinely interested in ergonomics and proceeded to get in touch with Dr. Lance Rucker and Bethany Valachi.
The conclusion from both of these clinicians was the same – purchase a pair of Flip-Up (aka Front-Lens-Mounted or FLM) style loupes with VERTICAL adjustability. I proceeded to a look at all the manufacturers fulfilling this criteria as well as my own – I needed magnification of at least 4.5x and lightweight. To my surprise, despite the number of loupes companies today, there was only one company which could provide me ergonomic, high power FLM loupes – that was SurgiTel.
I proceeded to get a demonstration of their line of loupes and was sold on the Micro Prism 450 FLM loupes. They are vertically adjustable, very light in weight (approximately 50% the weight of the DFV loupes), and have an excellent depth and width of field. I purchased immediately and have never looked back. Over a short period of adjustment, I have customized my loupes to a comfortable and effective declination, or “look-down” angle. Using Dr. Chang’s, the SurgiTel president, method of measuring declination angle my loupes are 49 degrees. My neck has never been in better shape during the nine years I have been in practice. As an additional bonus, I have different working distance caps which I switch out for different procedures. This has the benefit of not only altering my working distance, but also increasing magnification if a shorter working distance cap is selected.
The stigma attached to FLM style loupes being heavy and cumbersome should be something of the past. The SurgiTel FLM loupes are lightweight, ergonomic, and allow infinite adjustability. If you are a dental practitioner suffering from neck pain, I wholeheartedly recommend giving SurgiTel FLM loupes a try – they are an essential part of my practice.