Spinal Surgery During the COVID-19 Pandemic
India’s COVID-19 recovery rate is on a gradual yet consistent rise. Of course, these are signs that the situation, which was continually worsening until the last few months, is slowly improving. Nevertheless, the crisis is yet to subside, and hence, we must continue taking the necessary precautions to avoid letting the pandemic advance.
Surgeries, especially those that involve close human contact (for instance, spinal surgery), aren’t an exception to this rule. Doctors and surgeons continue to follow the COVID-19 surgical protocol to prevent the spread of the disease. This blog explores some of the essential technical elements associated with spinal surgery and brushes through the surgical profession’s commercial aspect.
Urgent Spinal Surgeries
Some surgeons have to perform urgent spinal surgeries to avoid neurological impairment. Hospitals follow a protocol to determine if the patient requires immediate surgical intervention or if there’s a chance to delay the operation. Some cases that surgeons consider urgent include the following.
Patients with the risk of permanent and/ or potentially reversible severe neurological dysfunction
Acute cauda equina compression with progressive severe neurological symptoms
Some cases of severe pain resulting from nerve compression
Progressive myelopathy from degenerative diseases
Compression of specific nerve roots causing new and progressive foot drop or hand weakness
The ever-increasing admissions of COVID-19 patients are a potential threat to the surgeon’s health. Hence, they follow the PPE policy to prevent the infection.
Intubate confirmed COVID-19 patients outside the OR, or ask the OR staff to evacuate the room during intubation and up to 30 minutes after it to enable airflow management. The protocol helps prevent the surgical team’s exposure to the possible aerosolizing effect on the virus present in the airway during respiratory management.
Anesthesiologists need to wear N95 masks, and surgeons have to wear regular surgical masks during spinal procedures, for which the aerosolization risk is minimal.
Hospital staff operating emergency COVID positive spinal surgery patients must wear N95 masks.
Only anesthesiologists will be allowed in the OR for 30 minutes following intubation.
Surgeons’ Participation in COVID-19 Patient Care
As the number of elective surgeries has been reduced, spinal surgeons have been asked to take care of medical patients. Many neurosurgeons and spinal surgeons have willingly participated as frontline COVID-19 warriors, thus exhibiting the greatest concerns for patient care and commitment.
Commercial Impact of COVID-19
A considerable reduction in the number of elective surgeries has resulted in a loss of revenue for hospitals. However, many neurosurgeons and spinal surgeons have disregarded such losses and continue to serve patients wholeheartedly. Hospitals need a strategy in place to recover from these financial losses and manage surgeon compensation. Besides, they also must beef up the surgeons’ force to manage postponed surgeries amid COVID.
Ranka Hospital COVID-19 Spinal Surgery Care
Ranka Hospitals is a leading hospital for spinal surgical care. The hospital follows the standard and surgical COVID-19 protocols to prevent the spread of the virus. Ranka’s doctors continue to work relentlessly to ensure the best patient care and keep COVID infection at bay.