Minimizing the Impact of COVID-19 During Surgery

Dr. Carlos Chacon

January 23, 2023


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a guidance document to assist physicians in minimizing the impact of the COVID-19 virus during surgery. This guide provides information on preoperative testing, infection control, and other strategies for preventing transmission of the disease. It also highlights the importance of patient waiting time and the need for early vaccination.

Preoperative testing

The preoperative testing of patients for COVID-19 is essential to protect both patients and medical staff from infection. This is especially true in the surgical setting.

In the early days of the pandemic, hospitals faced an overwhelming number of patients with COVID-19 infections. This created an immediate need for a standardized strategy for preoperative COVID-19 testing.

Hospitals adopted a universal preoperative testing policy. They designed their program to minimize the spread of COVID-19 while providing effective screening to all patients. However, the implementation of this strategy has caused significant disruption to surgical procedures.

Universal testing has been controversial because it requires hospitals to incur costs associated with positive cases. There is no evidence that a positive test reduces the risk of perioperative infection.

Infection control measures

COVID-19 is an outbreak that has significantly affected surgical patients. This pandemic is a major disruption to surgical procedures in hospitals. To protect these patients, infection control measures should be implemented to minimize the risk of onward transmission.

Surgical patients are at a higher risk of complications after surgery than non-surgical patients. It is important to consider the patient’s risk of infection and the benefits of surgery.

Earlier isolation reduces onward transmission and reduces the chances of an outbreak. However, this does not prevent hospital-acquired infections.

Prioritizing infection prevention and control (IPC) is crucial to the safety of patients and staff. The first step in the prioritization process involves the preoperative screening of patients. In addition, a collaborative approach is necessary.

Infection control measures for minimizing the impact of COVID-19 during surgery include preoperative screening, terminal cleaning of operating rooms, and the appropriate use of personal protective equipment. These measures are designed to reduce the bioburden, minimize the risk of onward transmission, and prevent infection of staff and other patients.

Waiting time

The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on surgical volumes has been assessed in a recent study. Waiting time for surgery is an important measure of healthcare equity. It relates to both the socioeconomic status of a patient and the patient’s risk of postoperative complications.

For a publicly funded health system, reducing wait times is one of the goals. To assess the impact of the pandemic on surgical volume, two time periods were selected for comparison to the same calendar months of the previous year. These included April to September and July to September 2019.

Surgical volume was measured as the number of procedures performed. As more patients come in for screening tests, hospitals need to increase their capacity to provide diagnostic procedures. However, the exact impact on surgical volume is unclear.


Vaccination to minimize the impact of COVID-19 during surgery can decrease a patient’s risk of postoperative complications and death. Several studies have been conducted to evaluate this benefit.

There is some concern about the efficacy of the vaccine in cancer patients. Other concerns include the overwhelming media coverage of the vaccine and its side effects.

Preoperative vaccination to reduce the risk of COVID-19 during surgery has been found to reduce the risk of pulmonary complications. In addition, studies have shown that preoperative vaccination reduces the risk of major surgical complications.

It has also been reported that preoperative vaccination could reduce postoperative mortality. However, these findings are limited to data based on a small number of studies. The need for more research into COVID-19 management and vaccine efficacy remains.

COVID-19 pandemic risk mitigation strategies

In recent years, a global health crisis has occurred due to a novel Coronavirus Disease. The disease, known as COVID-19, is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. During the pandemic, surgeons were exposed to an increased risk of infection.

Surgical teams have responded by developing consensus guidelines and research priorities. These recommendations have focused on mitigating the risk of infection, particularly during the perioperative period.

Among the most important strategies to prevent nosocomial transmission is the use of proper PPE. This includes N-95 respirators for all aerosol-generating procedures performed in the operating room. Eye-protective goggles should also be worn by all health care workers during surgery.

Surgeons should use the proper PPE, including eye-protective goggles, to minimize the risk of contact with a patient with the COVID-19 virus. Surgical staff with underlying health conditions may wish to wear higher levels of protection.