COVID-19 and Elective Surgery

7 Practical Tips for a Safe, Successful, and Sustainable Reboot

Zhen Chang Liang, MBBS, MRCS, DipSpMed, PhD, MBA; Mark Seng Ye Chong, BMBS, BMedSc, FRCS; Gabriel Ka Po Liu, MBBS, MSc, FRCS; Alejandro Gonzalez Della Valle, MD; Dahui Wang, MD, PhD; Xuemin Lyu, MD, PhD; Chih-Hung Chang, MD, PhD, FICS; Tae-Joon Cho, MD; Steven B. Haas, MD, MPH; Dale Fisher, MBBS, FRACP; Diarmuid Murphy, MBBS, FRCS; James Hoi Po Hui, MBBS, MD, FRCS


Annals of Surgery. 2021;273(2):e39-e40. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown surgical systems worldwide into unprecedented disarray. Elective surgery has stopped to preserve scarce healthcare resources and aid in redeployment of staff to areas where they are most needed. Some surgical disciplines, for example, Orthopaedics have been affected more than others. The COVID-19 crisis is anticipated to remain with us for an extended period of time. An indefinite suspension of elective surgery is not practical as this would have far-reaching and deleterious implications on patient care. Equally important, the financial sustainability of healthcare systems would be severely stressed. In this perspective, we provide 7 practical tips, to be considered in stepwise progression, for healthcare systems looking to reboot their elective surgeries in a safe, successful, and sustainable manner.