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Is it safe to have elective surgery now?

A masked healthcare worker in a surgical suite touches a monitor.

Oct. 1, 2020—In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, many hospitals postponed surgeries that weren't urgent or lifesaving to help curb the spread of COVID-19 and conserve resources for the most ill patients.

Now, in many parts of the country, elective procedures have been resumed. And you may wonder if the time is right to schedule your surgery.

A matter of timing

When you should move forward with your surgery will depend on many factors, according to the American College of Surgeons. You and your doctor should discuss all the pros and cons. To start, you may want to ask:

  • Will my condition get worse if I delay surgery?
  • Are there other treatments I can try if I decide to wait?
  • Am I in a high-risk group for complications from COVID-19?
  • How long will I be in the hospital?
  • Will I be able to have visitors?
  • Are there special steps I'll need to take once I'm back home?
  • What follow-up visits will I need after surgery?

Your safety is the priority

If you and your doctor agree that you should have surgery now, your care team will take steps to protect you from COVID-19. For instance:

  • All patients and staff will be required to wear masks and other protective gear.
  • All patients and staff will be checked for COVID-19 symptoms.
  • All surgery patients will be tested for COVID-19 before their procedures.

Should your age be a factor?

Read these tips on how to prepare for a surgery as an older adult.

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