Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a great impact on orthopedic surgery with a significant curtailment in elective surgeries which is the major bread and butter for orthopedic surgeons. It was also observed that the spectrum of orthopedic trauma injuries has shifted from more severe and frequent road traffic accidents (high energy trauma) to general, low energy house-hold injuries like low energy fractures in the elderly, pediatric fractures, house-hold sharp cut injuries and nail bed lacerations. The aim of this study is to appraise the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on orthopedic surgical practice, both inpatient and outpatient facility.
Materials and methods: This is a retrospective cross sectional study conducted in a tertiary care teaching hospital. We collected data of patients admitted from February 1, 2020 to 30th April 2020 in the orthopedic service line using non-probability consecutive sampling. This study population was divided into pre-COVID and COVID eras (6 weeks each). The data included patient demographic parameters like age, gender and site of injury, mechanism of injury, diagnosis and procedure performed and carrying out of COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test in the COVID-era.
Results: We observed that outpatient clinical volume decreased by 75% in COVID era. Fifty percent of surgical procedures decreased in COVID era as compared to pre-COVID era. Trauma procedures reduced by 40% in COVID era. Most common mechanism of injury was household injuries like low energy falls. A significant reduction in elective surgeries by 67% was observed in the COVID era.
Conclusion: The impact of COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed the spectrum of orthopedic injury. More household injuries have occurred and are anticipated due to the ongoing effects of lockdown.