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Your Doctor Wants to Reschedule That Surgery. But Is It Safe Now?

THURSDAY, May 7, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Some elective surgeries that were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic have since been rescheduled. But is it safe to have that knee replacement or cataract removal now?

The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) offers a checklist to help you make that determination.

“Physicians, hospitals and health systems are eager to resume elective surgeries, and patients are looking to have the procedures they planned, before the pandemic put everything on hold,” said ASA president Dr. Mary Dale Peterson.

“Health systems can ensure these procedures resume safely by following ASA guidance,” she said in a society news release.

The ASA guidelines, which were developed with other medical groups, include:

If the number of new coronavirus cases in your area has decreased every day for the last two weeks, it’s safe to undergo elective surgery.Before undergoing surgery, get tested for COVID-19. Also, expect your health care provider to ask if you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days, or if you’ve had unexplained fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat or loss of taste or smell in the last two weeks. It’s crucial to be honest, for your safety and the safety of your surgical team.Your surgery should be performed in an area that’s separate from where COVID-19 patients are being treated. Doing so protects you and your surgical team.Ask if the health care facility has a COVID-19 surgical care plan that covers every stage, from before your procedure to after discharge.

The ASA noted that in many areas of the United States, elective surgeries haven’t been performed for more than a month, so there will be a backlog. You may need to wait a little longer to have your procedure.

— Robert Preidt

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SOURCE: American Society of Anesthesiologists, news release, May 4, 2020

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