Why you should get your elective surgery done now

Elective surgeries
Elective surgeries

As elective surgeries get the green light to resume, some patients may have concerns about getting surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Debbie Doran is an avid exerciser and traveler, but she was sidelined by knee pain.

“I couldn’t walk. My knee hurt that bad,” Doran said.

Then, COVID-19 sidelined her knee replacement surgery -- twice.

“Because of COVID, it was canceled. Then we rescheduled for April and, it was canceled,” Doran said.

As elective surgeries begin to resume, some doctors are recommending their patients have surgery now in case there is another spike in COVID cases.

“I tell my patients now is the best time to get surgery because if it gets bad, we may have to cancel elective surgeries or at least postpone them again,” said Dr. Richard Berger, an orthopedic Surgeon at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush University Medical Center.

But is getting surgery at the hospital safe?

“Other than staying home, it’s about the safest place you can possibly go,” Berger said.

For elective surgeries, hospitals are implementing new protocols to keep everyone safe.

“We do a screening out front before they come in. Check their temperatures. Check for any symptoms. We are testing all of our patients for COVID before they come in for surgery,” said Dr. Parag Patel, an anesthesiologist at Rush University Medical Center. “We keep up-to-date with all the most current guidelines put out there by the Department of Public Health as well as the CDC.”

And for high-risk procedures, a clear drape or plastic box is placed over patients to reduce the risk of spread. After months of waiting, Doran is finally able to have her knee replacement surgery.

“I thought, you know what, why not just get this over with because I got a lot of living to do here,” said Doran.

Including watching one of her daughters walk down the aisle next year.

With the pause in elective surgeries, experts say it may take up to three or four months to resolve the backlog of surgeries.