In the guidance, the two organizations recommend that elective surgery be delayed for seven weeks after a SARS-CoV-2 infection in unvaccinated patients. There is insufficient evidence to make recommendations for vaccinated patients who become infected with COVID-19, the societies concluded. The guidance, published by the two societies on Feb. 22, is intended to aid hospitals, surgeons, anesthesiologists and proceduralists in evaluating and scheduling surgical patients.
Overall, both societies recommend that elective operations be performed in patients after COVID-19 infection only when anesthesiologists and surgeons agree to jointly proceed with an operation. The decision to operate should be based on a patient’s infectious status and take into account the potential risks of proceeding with surgery versus further delaying an operation, according to the statement. The updated recommendations are based on evidence that emerged over the last year.