Delaying Surgery During COVID: Hazardous to Your Health?


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — A recent study found that 53 percent of people surveyed said their bone, joint, and muscle issues have worsened since the COVID lockdown, and many of these patients have been delaying surgery to fix their pain. But postponing procedures may lead to a serious backlog for doctors. Ivanhoe explains.

Judy McCormack has always been active. But constant hip pain was interfering with her on-the-go lifestyle.

“Cancelled ski trips and wasn’t able to get my leg up over my bike like I wanted to,” shared Judy.

She needed a hip replacement and doctors told her the news in the middle of the COVID pandemic. Judy decided to go ahead with the procedure after taking a few precautions.

“I was very concerned about being vaccinated before,” Judy continued.

Richard Berger, MD, Hip & Knee Replacement Surgeon, Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush says Judy was smart not to wait. Delaying hip or knee surgery can worsen arthritis and lead to a longer rehab. But patients and hundreds of U.S. hospitals have put elective surgeries on hold because of COVID. Researchers predict the number of hip replacements to double and the number of knee replacements to increase at least five-fold in the next decade. A study in the Lancet found the U.S. should expect a backlog of more than one million joint and spinal surgeries by mid-2022. Dr. Berger says if you’re experiencing pain, don’t wait to schedule your surgery. And if you’re worried about going into a hospital, don’t be.

“It’s probably the safest environment to go into. Safer than the grocery store. Safer than the gas station. Everyone here has been tested and vaccinated. It is really the safest place you could possibly be,” said Dr, Berger.

Judy is happy she had surgery when she did and is now back to her active self.

“I would just say if you can get in, get it done sooner than later, you won’t regret it,” said Judy.

If your surgery is postponed, there are some ways to help you cope with the pain. Using an aid, like a walker or cane, may help alleviate the discomfort. You can also try over-the-counter pain relievers or applying heat and ice to the affected joint.

Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Producer; and Roque Correa, Editor.


REPORT #2924

BACKGROUND: Many symptoms of the coronavirus imitate the symptoms of a viral infection or flu syndrome. One of these symptoms may be muscle aches. Pain in the arms, legs, or back can develop spontaneously with no injury. With a coronavirus infection, the pain is in muscles rather than in joints. But if you have an arthritic joint in your arm or leg, the virus may worsen the symptoms. While the coronavirus can cause permanent damage to vital organs, such as the lungs and kidneys, it is not known to cause any permanent damage to bones and joints. Inflammatory processes such as bursitis, tendinitis, or even a gout attack are just a few of the things that can cause musculoskeletal pain. Some patients may also experience muscle aches as a side effect of the COVID-19 vaccine. These are usually temporary and resolve after a few days.


DELAYING SURGERY DURING COVID: Many individuals who require surgeries have delayed medical treatment because of COVID-19. A poll investigating the impact of coronavirus on personal health found that 48 percent of Americans said they or a family member had postponed health procedures. It’s crucial to address the pain before symptoms worsen and become more serious. Postponing elective surgery can result in negative consequences such as worsening conditions, emotional distress, and expensive emergency procedures. In a study analyzing the health impact of delaying elective surgery, those who postpone surgery tended to experience a lower quality of life and heightened anxiety levels. Postponing an orthopedic operation can cause frequent emergency room visits to manage the pain and even lead to emergency surgery if conditions become severe. Hospitals and treatment facilities are taking the necessary safety measures to make sure you feel comfortable and secure during COVID. They are also recommending to not hold off on your elective surgery.


NEW STUDY IN REGENERATIVE MEDICINE: A common cause of chronic pain and disability in the United States are degenerative orthopedic conditions. Treatment options, remain limited and represent a heavy burden on patients and their families. Stanford Medicine is actively studying new approaches in regenerative medicine to improve outcomes. The team uses biologics such as stem cells, 3D printed scaffolds, molecular biology, and other advanced strategies to repair and restore damaged tissues. “We can take blood or skin cells from older adults and turn those cells into induced pluripotent stem cells that can become younger versions of that same person’s cartilage cells or other tissue repair cells,” says Constance Chu, MD, Stanford Health Care sports medicine surgeon. “In the clinic, we have been able to treat patients by concentrating platelets or cells from their own blood and tissues with the idea of improving healing or treating symptoms.” These new treatments show promise but need to be studied and monitored.


* For More Information, Contact:

Lisa Stafford, Public Relations

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