COVID-19: considerations for optimum surgical team protection before, during and after operation

Gaurav Punia, Sunaina Kharb, Anil Gulia, Sanjeev Bansal, Shashipal Chandan, Mahesh Kumar


SARS CoV-2, the virus responsible for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), has caused a global pandemic. Surgeons’ obligation, as always, will be to provide timely, high-quality surgical care that achieves the best outcomes for patients. It is imperative to ensure the safety of health-care workers not only to safeguard continuous patient care but also to ensure they do not transmit the virus further. Viral particles have been found in nasal swabs, pharyngeal swabs, sputum, bronchial swabs, gastrointestinal tissue, blood, and stool.Surfaces in isolation rooms and even clinician shoe covers have tested positive as well. Some key considerations for protecting surgical teams; structure frequent communication before key events; assume the entire operation theater will be contaminated; choose personal protective equipment (PPE) effective against aerosolized particles; adapt surgical technique to reduce exposure risks; use a “buddy system” for donning and doffing; after operation/recovery; going home – what should be done to keep your family safe. Though careful planning and appropriate PPE are essential, the most effective way to prevent viral exposure is to avoid performing non-essential surgical procedures. Non-operative approaches may be a safe alternative to surgery for some patients. Many patients, however, will require emergency operative intervention.


COVID-19, Personal protective equipment, Aerosols generating procedure, N95 mask, Social distancing

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