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AIM: The aim of this study is to point out the changes and possible delay in diagnosis or treatment of malignancies and an added risk of COVID-19 exposure emerging from these interventions, as well as to underline the increase of surgical demand once the pandemic measures are eased.
METHODS: This study is a retrospective review of the patients operated between 11.03.2020 and 31.05.2020 in a center with a high incidence of COVID-19 infection during the pandemic. The numbers of emergency, elective and oncological surgeries as well as the increasing or decreasing trends of these interventions between March 11 and May 31 of previous years were compared with the corresponding period of 2020 or in other words the pandemic period.
RESULTS: From March 11 to May 31, 2020 there was a progressive reduction in surgical activity, with only 195 operations: 61(31,28%) on a scheduled basis for tumor pathology, 59(30,25%) for benign pathology and 75(38,46%) for emergency indications. When the surgical trends of previous years are considered, all types of oncological surgeries decreased significantly in pandemic period March 11 to May 31, 2020.
CONCLUSION: One of the most striking changes in medical care settings during the COVID-19 pandemic was observed in surgical management strategies. The most significant among these were the limitation of elective surgical procedures and the prioritization of emergency or non-delayed oncological operations. One may speculate that the standstill of elective surgeries including the oncological surgeries might have long term impacts on the clinical outcomes of patients as well as the healthcare workers and organizations.