The Impact Of The Covid 19 Pandemic On Orthopedic Surgery


Imagine walking in to Dr. Kristopher Downing La Jolla‘s clinic in early 2020. Everything was just like you’d expect – patients scheduling appointments, nurses bustling about, and the doctor preparing for the next surgery. Then the pandemic hit. It descended on us like a storm, changing everything we thought we knew about healthcare and life. COVID-19 didn’t just affect people’s lungs or ability to breathe, it impacted all areas of medicine, including orthopedic surgery. And it hit hard.

The Immediate Repercussions

The virus took us by surprise. Suddenly, elective surgeries were canceled. Patients were told to stay home. Orthopedic surgeons – who typically deal with broken bones and joint replacements – found themselves on the frontline, fighting an invisible enemy.

The Shift to Telemedicine

An unexpected outcome of the pandemic was the rapid shift to telemedicine. Orthopedic surgeons started seeing patients remotely. It was a steep learning curve. But they adapted. They didn’t have a choice. They needed to keep providing care while also keeping everyone safe. Telemedicine was the solution.

Reduced Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation

Orthopedic surgery usually involves intensive physical therapy and rehabilitation. However, the pandemic restricted these services. Many patients were left to recover at home, with minimal support. This is a unique challenge in the history of orthopedics.

The Long-Term Effects

Even as we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the impact of COVID-19 on orthopedic surgery is far from over. The backlog of surgeries is enormous. Plus, there’s the psychological impact on patients. Many are afraid to go to the hospital or doctor’s office. This fear may delay treatment and worsen conditions.

A Time to Adapt and Overcome

These are challenging times. But they are also a time for innovation and adaptation. In the face of adversity, the orthopedic community has shown resilience. They’ve adapted to telemedicine, found new ways to support patients remotely, and continued to provide essential services amidst the chaos.

The Road Ahead

The road to recovery is long. But step by step, we are getting there. An orthopedic surgeon and their team continue to adapt and serve their patients. The pandemic has changed orthopedic surgery. But it has also highlighted the resilience and adaptability of the industry. It’s a testament to the dedication and commitment of orthopedic surgeons everywhere.