Safe Surgery During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Rishi Singhal*, Luke Dickerson, Nasser Sakran, Sjaak Pouwels, Sonja Chiappetta, Sylvia Weiner, Sanjay Purkayastha, Brij Madhok, Kamal Mahawar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) has had an enormous impact on all aspects of healthcare, but its effect on patients needing surgery and surgeons has been disproportionate. In this review, we aim to understand the impact of the pandemic on surgical patients and teams. We compiled the emerging data on pre-operative screening methods, vaccinations, safe-surgery pathways and surgical techniques and make recommendations for evidence-based safe-surgical pathways. We also present surgical outcomes for emergency, oncological and benign surgery in the context of the pandemic. Finally, we attempt to address the impact of the pandemic on patients, staff and surgical training and provide perspectives for the future.

RECENT FINDINGS: Surgical teams have developed consensus guidelines and established research priorities and safety precautions for surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic. Evidence supports that surgery in patients with a peri-operative SARS-CoV-2 infection carries substantial risks, but risk mitigation strategies are effective at reducing harm to staff and patients. Surgery has increased risk for patients and staff, but this can be mitigated effectively, especially for elective surgery. Elective surgery can be safely performed during the COVID-19 pandemic employing the strategies discussed in this review.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalCurrent Obesity Reports
Early online date28 Oct 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021. The Author(s).


  • COVID-19
  • Surgery
  • Surgical outcomes
  • Pre-operative screening
  • Testing
  • Vaccination


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