Doctors explain why you shouldn’t postpone serious medical procedures during COVID-19 surge

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – A recent study found that 53 percent of people surveyed said their bone, joint, and muscle issues have worsened since COVID lockdowns started, and many of these patients have put off surgery to fix their pain. But postponing procedures may lead to a serious backlog for doctors.

Judy McCormack has always been active. But constant hip pain was interfering with her on-the-go lifestyle.

“Cancelled ski trips and wasn’t able to get my leg up over my bike like I wanted to,” shared Judy.

She needed a hip replacement and doctors told her the news in the middle of the COVID pandemic. Judy decided to go ahead with the procedure after taking a few precautions.

“I was very concerned about being vaccinated before,” Judy continued.

Richard Berger, MD, Hip & Knee Replacement Surgeon, Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush says Judy was smart not to wait. Delaying hip or knee surgery can worsen arthritis and lead to a longer rehab. But patients and hundreds of U.S. hospitals have put elective surgeries on hold because of COVID. Researchers predict the number of hip replacements to double and the number of knee replacements to increase at least five-fold in the next decade. A study in the Lancet found the U.S. should expect a backlog of more than one million joint and spinal surgeries by mid-2022. Dr. Berger says if you’re experiencing pain, don’t wait to schedule your surgery. And if you’re worried about going into a hospital, don’t be.

“It’s probably the safest environment to go into. Safer than the grocery store. Safer than the gas station. Everyone here has been tested and vaccinated. It is really the safest place you could possibly be,” said Dr, Berger.

Judy is happy she had surgery when she did and is now back to her active self.

“I would just say if you can get in, get it done sooner than later, you won’t regret it,” said Judy.

If your surgery is postponed, there are some ways to help you cope with the pain. Using an aid, like a walker or cane, may help alleviate the discomfort. You can also try over-the-counter pain relievers or applying heat and ice to the affected joint.

Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Producer; and Roque Correa, Editor