Is it Safe to Return to the Hospital for Elective Orthopedic Surgery?
While the pandemic stopped many patient surgeries early on, John L. Graves, MD, an orthopedic surgeon in Greensboro and member of the Cone Health Medical and Dental Staff, says it is safe for patients to proceed with elective orthopedic surgery.
“Since the early days of the pandemic, we have learned more about the virus and implemented strict protocols to prevent spread,” says Dr. Graves. “In addition, Cone Health has dedicated the former Women’s Hospital, now known as Green Valley campus, to treating patients with COVID-19, allowing us to perform elective orthopedic surgeries at Wesley Long and Moses Cone Hospitals.”
Since mid-May, Dr. Graves and his colleagues have been successfully performing elective orthopedic surgeries while following all national clinical practice guidelines and Cone Health task force recommendations.
“We began performing elective surgeries for hip, knee and shoulder on otherwise healthy patients first,” shares Dr. Graves. “We used regional anesthesia in the area of the body requiring surgery to further reduce risk.”
Just prior to surgery, patients receive a COVID-19 test and are asked to quarantine for a couple of days between before and after their test results and surgery.
According to Dr. Graves, about 8 in 10 patients go home the day after their surgery with nearly all returning home within 2 days. Home health practitioners and outpatient therapy providers have stringent screening and protocols in place to protect patients after surgery.
For high-risk patients with obesity, Type 2 diabetes, pulmonary conditions or hypertension, they should confer with their physician on their personal situation.
“We are being diligent and vigilant about keeping surgery safe for all our elective orthopedic surgery patients,” concludes Dr. Graves. “For many, deferring surgery any longer inhibits their ability to get back to life or their condition could worsen.”
About the Author
John L. Graves, MD, is an orthopedic surgeon in Greensboro and member of the Cone Health Medical and Dental Staff.