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Deferment of Elective Surgeries Due to COVID-19 Will Have Lasting Impact

Cumulative backlog includes more than 1 million surgeries at two years after end of elective surgery deferment

FRIDAY, May 29, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- At two years after the end of the elective orthopedic surgery deferment related to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be a cumulative backlog of more than 1 million surgical cases in an optimistic scenario, according to a study published online May 12 in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

In an effort to calculate the impact of elective-surgery deferment during COVID-19, Amit Jain, M.D., from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues performed a Monte Carlo stochastic simulation-based analysis to forecast the postpandemic volume of elective, inpatient total joint arthroplasty and spinal fusion surgical cases. The cumulative backlog was calculated, and expected recovery time for the health service to be near full capacity for performing elective surgery was estimated.

The researchers note that assuming that elective surgery resumes in June 2020, it will take seven, 12, and 16 months until the health care system can perform 90 percent of the expected prepandemic forecasted volume of surgery in optimistic, ambivalent, and pessimistic scenarios, respectively. At two years after the end of the elective-surgery deferment, in the optimistic scenario, there will be a cumulative backlog of more than 1 million surgical cases.

"Our analysis is timely in light of the unprecedented and rapidly evolving pandemic," the authors write. "To deal with the anticipated backlog in elective orthopedic surgery, planning for postpandemic recovery requires proactive action."

One author was employed by Jain Ventures.

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