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Elective Surgery is Moving Forward at MetroHealth

As Ohio slowly reopens in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, MetroHealth is taking steps to resume elective surgeries that are important to patients’ health and well-being. If you’ve been postponing your procedure because of the virus, it is time to consider rescheduling it.

“It’s not unreasonable to be concerned about coming back to resume your medical care,” said Christopher Brandt, MD, Department Chair of Surgery at MetroHealth. “But I encourage people to reach out to their surgeons to discuss their condition and when they might be able to come in for their procedure.”

What is an Elective Surgery?

“Elective surgery is any procedure that is not an emergency,” said Dr. Brandt.  “It’s surgery that is planned to occur on a specific date.” Elective surgery does not mean the procedure is medically unnecessary. “And it’s not just cosmetic surgery,” he said. Elective surgery includes procedures requiring a hospital stay, such as bariatric, spine and total joint procedures (hips and knees) as well as those allowing patients to go home the same day, such as laparoscopic hernia, hand procedures, small fracture repairs and knee arthroscopies.

A Safe, Careful and Gradual Rollout

MetroHealth suspended elective surgeries in early March in response to COVID-19. Exceptions were made for certain procedures, including surgeries that could improve the survival of cancer patients. In late April, elective outpatient procedures not requiring a hospital stay — such as surgery for abdominal hernias and cataracts — resumed. And this month, Governor Mike DeWine approved the resumption of all elective surgeries.

As MetroHealth moves forward with all elective procedures, people who have worsening symptoms from their medical condition are strongly encouraged to reschedule these surgeries, said Dr. Brandt. For example, surgery may be the only option that can offer pain relief to patients with progressive joint deterioration.

Diligent Safety Measures

In light of the pandemic, MetroHealth is taking extensive measures to make surgery as safe as possible.

For example, all surgical patients are screened for COVID-19 symptoms before their procedure. “In some situations, we test them for the virus before surgery,” said Dr. Brandt. Patients are each allowed one visitor, who will also be screened for the virus upon arrival at the hospital.

Masks are required, said Debra Sparks, MSM, BSN, RN, CNOR, Director of Regional Perioperative Services. “Everyone at MetroHealth wears a mask. It is mandatory for staff and visitors alike.”

Deep cleaning also occurs more frequently throughout the medical center, and social distancing measures are strictly followed. “No one can sit next to another person in the waiting areas, for example,” said Sparks.

Contact Your Surgeon

 “We’re offering a safe environment to proceed with surgery,” said Dr. Brandt. “Our surgeons are here to advise you about the potential benefits of proceeding with surgery and whether they outweigh the risks.”

If you’ve been delaying a procedure, please contact your doctor.

Christopher Brandt, MD