As we move beyond the Corona-virus peak, it is time for a coronavirus update. With the help of both Spire Manchester and The BMI Alexandra, we have now begun treating patients once more. We are very conscious that while all the focus has been on treating the virus, a lot of people with significant joint problems have been struggling with significant pain and reduced mobility.
We have already started face-to-face appointments for some patients but will always continue to use virtual technology (Zoom, Microsoft Teams, FaceTime and WhatsApp video) for patient convenience and to reduce unnecessary hospital visits. We carried out our first robotic hip replacements today but we will not be able to get through as many operations per day as before due to the safety precautions needed. We do have a backlog of patients who were cancelled by the lockdown, as well as new patients that we have listed since. However, we will still be able to carry out between 6-8 robotic replacements or hip scopes per week, so we will manage to get through everyone before too long. Christine is currently in the process of contacting all patients to give them a provisional date but we hope that we may be able to bring patients forward as more dates become available. We will be giving patients more information about the pros and cons of surgery in the presence of Coronavirus, as well as the precautions they need to take beforehand (such as self-isolating for two weeks beforehand and Covid testing 48-72 hours before surgery) and what the hospitals will be doing to minimise their risks (testing staff regularly, separating surgery patients from other patients, minimising visitors etc).
The emergence of Coronavirus has led to additional risks that must be considered. At this stage, quality published research is rare but there is the possibility that there may be an increased risk in operating on patients who are asymptomatic carriers of Covid 19. This risk is greater in patients over 70 who have other medical conditions such as diabetes, obesity, cardio-vascular disease and BAME ethnicity and this may make them more likely of developing complications requiring ICU and leading to death after surgery. There are a number of precautions that we are taking to reduce that risk such as pre-surgery isolation for 14 days, Covid testing and using spinal anaesthetic rather than general. Further information will be provided by the hospital and is regularly being updated by both Public Health England and the British Orthopaedic Association. While there will always be risks involved in surgery, it is important to balance that against the risks of not operating.
Needless to say, we are really happy to get back to what we do best and will never complain about being too busy again!!!