Elective surgical procedures in the COVID-19 era


Authors: Kevin Palmer, Victor Adedara, Temiloluwa Ogunmoyin, Azeez Kuteyi, Deepak Kumar Palanichami, , Anthony La, Lauren Orlando, Abidemi Fasanmi, and Emmanuel O Keku
Page Range: 91-99
Published in: International Public Health Journal, 15#1 (2023)
ISSN: 1947-4989

Table of Contents


The coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has altered methods of healthcare delivery which have led to a reduction in the utilization of non-emergent surgical services and a shift towards telehealth. The present study consists of a narrative review of the existing literature which describes the impact of delayed or otherwise altered delivery of surgical services during the COVID-19 pandemic. A review of the PubMed database was conducted utilizing the following search terms: “elective surgery,” “COVID,” “complications,” “delays,” “hospital delays,” “disparity,” “social determinants of health,” and “equity.” The focus of this search was to identify studies and publications related to trends and changes in the delivery of elective surgical services that have resulted, either directly or indirectly because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 114 publications were identified in the search results, and 61 publications were selected for review. These 61 publications were reviewed, analyzed, and the findings are reported under six headings: Definition of elective surgery; Reduction in elective surgical services during the COVID-19 pandemic; Burden of delayed services; Ethical considerations; Moving forward; Further recommendations. The COVID-19 pandemic led to a drastic reduction in elective surgical services. Delays in surgical services and direct complications caused by COVID-19 infection have led to increased morbidity. Implications and recommendations for future practice of telemedicine, and the use of outpatient and same-day surgery centers to avoid spreading COVID-19 infection is, therefore, of great importance.

Keywords: Elective surgery, COVID, complications, delays, hospital delays, disparity, social determinants of health, equity

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