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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 1-7

Surgery in the COVID-19 Era: A Narrative Review

1 Department of Surgery, Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri, Bayelsa State, Nigeria
2 Department of Surgery, Federal Medical Center, Keffi, Nassarawa State, Nigeria
3 Colorectal Surgery Unit, Surgery Department, Mansoura University Hospital, Mansoura, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Oyintonbra F Koroye
Department of Surgery, Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri, Bayelsa State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jwas.jwas_20_21

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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic affected the delivery of surgical care and services. This review article aims to appraise the impact of COVID-19 on surgical care. The authors discuss the literature on surgery and COVID-19 under the following themes: emergency case triaging, elective surgery triaging, operating on a COVID-19-positive patient, surgical smoke, management of scarce resources, and restarting elective surgery. Most of the large surgical societies recommended and most surgical departments all over the world implemented the cancellation of elective surgeries, while emergency surgeries proceeded as usual. Elective surgeries were triaged taking into consideration the COVID-19 infection rate in the locality, availability of resources, and the need for intensive care unit beds and ventilators. A COVID-19-positive patient should not be denied surgery if indicated, and the recommended precautions and use of personal protective equipment should be adhered to. The generation of surgical smoke occurs in both laparoscopic and open surgeries, and it has not been shown to contain this novel virus. Smoke generation should be minimized and laid down guidelines followed. Laparoscopic surgery seems to have an advantage over open surgery in this regard. In resuming elective surgeries, the local infection rates, bed occupancy rate, and availability of resources should be taken into cognizance. We should learn from this pandemic so as to be prepared for future occurrences, which is a significant possibility.

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