The Impact of COVID-19-based Suspension of Surgeries on Plastic Surgery Practices: A Survey of ACAPS Members

B. A. Sarac
A. R. Schoenbrunner
S. C. Wilson
E. S. Chiu
J. E. Janis

Abstract

Copyright © 2020 The Authors. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic led to a drastic decline in the number of elective surgeries performed in the United States. Many national societies and local governments provided recommendations for surgeons to initially suspend and progressively resume elective surgery. The authors used a survey to the American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons (ACAPS) to assess the effect on plastic surgeons. Methods: An electronic survey questionnaire was distributed to 532 members of ACAPS. Data on individual and plastic surgery practice demographics, COVID-19 prevention measures, and procedures or services that were being performed or delayed were collected and analyzed. Results: An estimated 161 members (30.2%) completed the survey. Changes in hospital policy were cited as the most common reason (89%) for determining which procedures were currently offered. Results vary by specialty. Notably, <10% of respondents who normally offered aesthetic procedures currently offered any procedures during the survey. Subspecialty-specific results and prevention measures when seeing clinic patients are further summarized and discussed. Conclusions: Plastic surgeons have seen a drastic decrease in the variety of procedures and services they are allowed to offer during the COVID-19 pandemic. To help plan a return to normalcy, surgeons should create and implement plans to protect patients and staff from coronavirus transmission, assure financial solvency, and consider the effects of delayed surgeries on both the physical and mental health of their patients. In doing so, surgeons and their patients will be better prepared in the event of a resurgence of the virus.