Resuming Elective Surgery Post-COVID-19 Preventing Infection Control

COVID-19 has affected people in an unprecedented manner leaving countries in isolation. The elective surgery was not spared. In response to the pandemic, various medical facilities, including the American College of Surgeons, U.S Surgeon General, among other facilities, proposed an interim cancellation of the elective surgical procedures. As Kaye et al. (2020) note in their work, many countries are experiencing substantial cancellations of elective treatment, which calls for research on strategies to assist in resuming elective surgery post-COVID-19. With the control of the COVID-19 first wave, various medical facilities may experience a high demand for procedural care post-COVID-19 that calls for a good plan. In this literature review, three studies were identified that include Gilat et al. (2020), Kaye et al. (2020), and Zhao et al. (2020). The paper will compare the study’s research questions, sample populations, study limitations related to resuming elective surgery post-COVID-19.

Research Questions

In the first study by Gilat et al. (2020), the research question was, “How has COVID-19 pandemic affected the orthopedic community? The study dives in the struggle between keeping social distancing precautions and state-of-the-art surgical care. The purpose of this research was to analyze the effects of COVID-19 on the orthopedic community. Zhao et al. (2020) article research question was, “How can we prevent cross-infection in the operating room during this COVID-19 pandemic”. Lastly, Kaye et al. (2020) research question was, “When and how should elective/aesthetic procedures be scheduled again and what kind of institutional changes are essential to protect patients and physicians when clinics and practices reopen?” From an exploration of the process, the study research questions are almost similar, and they try to research effective strategies to resuming the elective surgery post-COVID-19. 

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Comparison of Population

Gilat et al. (2020) performed systematic searches from April 17, 2020. The various platform used includes Google Scholar, PubMed, Medline, Embase, News Websites, Facebook, Instagram, Research Gate, Twitter. Kaye et al. (2020) also preferred desk research from various sources, including MEDLINE/ PubMed research. In these platforms, they looked for available publications on COVID-19 and anesthesia during elective surgeries. Similarly, Zhao et al. (2020) also used electronic medical records on infection prevention in elective surgery during and after the COVID-19. The authors used medical records, anesthesia records, laboratory findings, x-rays, among others. Because of the regulations of research following the COVID-19 outbreak, field studies were impossible, and hence the researchers opted for online analysis using medical records.

Comparison of the Studies Limitations

One of the limitations facing the three studies is the fact that doing a field study was impossible because of COVID-19 study regulations. In this case, the three studies used online research. Desk researchers have a couple of limitations, including unreliability. Most of the online research may not be reliable, while others may be outdated. Additionally, online surveys may also not adequately fit the needs of the survey work being taken. Another desk research limitation is the fact that secondary data also needs modification and its dependence undesirable. In many studies, including elective surgery and COVID-19 infection-related, testing through field research assists in data verification (reliability and validity).

 From Kaye et al. (2020), it is evident that the hospitals will face significant challenges in enhancing patient safety during and even after the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the study data is surfacing rapidly, and some of the recommendations offered in the article may not make sense as more evidence-based information becomes accessible. Additionally, the authors argue that some of the materials they used had various weaknesses, including lack of peer-reviews. In this case, Kaye et al. (2020) article recommend following up on evidence-based data in the future.  

From Zhao et al. (2020), issues related to desk research were also evident. The authors argue that some of the online research information use may also change with time as healthcare experts continue engaging evidence-based research regarding elective surgery and COVID-19 infections. A significant limitation noted by Gilat et al. (2020) is that investigating aspects touching the COVID-19 pandemic is not evidence-based and trustworthy. As a result of the rapidly evolving reality regarding COVID-19, the article’s information may not be relevant in a few weeks or months to come.


Recommendations for Future Work

The primary recommendation for future work regarding this topic is to engage in field research. The desk research used in the three articles is not only untrustworthy but also not evidence-based.


The three studies caution the healthcare practitioners regarding elective surgery COVID-19 infection rates. Post COVID-19, various precautions need to be taken to ensure that patients undergoing surgeries are protected. The studies argue that the elective surgery community needs to adapt to the surgical and procedural steps to minimize the risk of infecting patients with COVID-19 as they undergo elective aesthetic procedures. Going back to the procedures will require the health experts to come up with guidelines for COVID-19 infection prevention during surgery. The three study articles conclude by arguing that the information presented may not be evidence-based and may change in the next few weeks hence the need for more research.


Gilat, R., Haunschild, E., Tauro, T., & Cole, B. (2020). Recommendations to Optimize the Safety of Elective Surgical Care While Limiting the Spread of COVID-19: Primum Non Nocere. Arthroscopy, Sports Medicine, And Rehabilitation, 5(3). doi: 10.1016/j.asmr.2020.04.008

Kaye, K., Paprottka, F., Escudero, R. et al. Elective, Non-urgent Procedures and Aesthetic Surgery in the Wake of SARS–COVID-19: Considerations Regarding Safety, Feasibility and Impact on Clinical Management. Aesth Plast Surg (2020).

Zhao, S., Ling, K., Yan, H., Zhong, L., Peng, X., & Yao, S. et al. (2020). Anesthetic Management of Patients with COVID 19 Infections during Emergency Procedures. Journal Of Cardiothoracic And Vascular Anesthesia, 34(5), 1125-1131. doi: 10.1053/j.jvca.2020.02.039