COVID-19 has changed the way we live. Not only the way we perform tasks of daily living, but also the way we handle medical emergencies. Self-quarantine, in an attempt to flatten the curve, all non-essential businesses close their doors. Even medical offices and hospitals have had to change the way they tackle medical and surgical care.
But when it comes to surgical intervention, there’s a huge difference between essential and non-essential procedures. What one feels is urgent may not be the same as a trained medical professional’s point of view. But despite COVID-19, hospitals are still performing surgeries they feel are essential and necessary to prolong and even save lives.
Read on to learn what surgeries are considered essential during this pandemic.
Obviously, one of the most important surgeries is heart surgery. The heart is the most vital organ in the body, right next to the brain. Just because COVID-19 has been affecting a lot of people, that doesn’t mean nothing else can happen. People can still have heart attacks, blockages and cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular surgeries such as a heart valve repair, inserting a pacemaker and transposition of the great arteries will not be put on hold during COVID-19.
Transplants are another essential surgery that won’t be postponed due to COVID-19. A transplant is when an organ from a donor is placed into the person to save their life or to regulate a bodily function.
Here is a list of transplants that are essential:
- Liver transplant
- Kidney transplant
- Lung transplant
- Heart transplant
- Vascular tissues transplant
- Cornea transplant
Kidney surgery, also known as a nephrectomy, is a surgery that either removes a part or the entire kidney. There are two forms of this surgery; a partial nephrectomy and a radical nephrectomy.
A partial nephrectomy is when only part of the kidney is removed while a radical nephrectomy removes the kidney completely. This surgery is mainly done to prevent kidney cancer and to help treat kidneys that were infected or damaged by a kidney stone.
An appendectomy is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of a person’s appendix. This is usually done to help treat appendicitis. Appendicitis is a condition where the appendix becomes inflamed. If this condition is not treated, it can cause the appendix to rupture, which in turn, will cause the abdominal cavity to be infected and could possibly lead to death.
Depending on the location and severity, bowel obstruction can also be considered an essential procedure. A bowel obstruction occurs for several reasons, including fecal impaction, torsion and cancer.
In many cases, it is possible to decompress the bowel to eliminate the obstruction. However, if non-invasive modalities fail to alleviate the obstruction, surgery may be warranted.
Cesarean sections, or C-Sections for short, is a special type of operation that’s used to deliver babies. C-sections are performed when vaginal birth is considered too risky. There are actually two ways this operation is performed; the transverse method and the classic method.
The transverse method involves the surgeon to make an incision right above a woman’s bikini line. The classic method is slightly different as the incision is vertical and an additional incision is made through the woman’s uterus.
Blood clots can occur anywhere in the body. However, if caught early, most can be treated with medication that thins the blood and dissolves the clot. But in cases of ruptured blood clots in the body or brain, aneursyms need to be clipped surgically.
Managing surgeries during the COVID-19 pandemic is more than deciding which is more important. It requires an efficient, concise decision-making process that takes all factors into account. The overall health of the patient and urgency of the surgical procedures will dictate whether surgery is considered essential or non-essential.