The options to clear a recovered COVID-19 patient for surgery could be a symptom or test-based strategy. The studies recommend a hybrid strategy until more information is available. Surgical procedures should be delayed if possible for 4–6 weeks. The scientific data recommend against routine testing in this group as patients are likely not infectious any-more and risk of airway reactivity or ARDS will be reduced. Between 2 and 4 weeks after symptom onset, scientific data recommend a test-based strategy due to insufficient data that recovered COVID patients are completely uninfectious. Data from China suggest that patients with severe symptoms have higher viral burden and prolonged viral shedding. For surgery completion<2 weeks after COVID-19 symptoms or diagnosis, scientific data recommend no testing and operating under COVID isolation precautions in the operating room. Immunocompromised patients are likely to shed longer and may be at higher risk of other infectious or pulmonary complications. The scientific data suggest individualized case-based decisions by involved providers until more information is available.
The American College of Surgeons (ACS) and SAGES has developed COVID-19 and Surgery as an online resource for the surgical community facing the impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Content has been developed or curated under the auspices of ACS and SAGES Regents and Officers to bring surgeons trusted information, including best practices and guidance that specifically target the concerns and challenges surgeons face. As the COVID-19 landscape is rapidly changing, this website is updated several times weekly and houses current and past editions of our electronic newsletter.