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This article is the author’s final published version in OTO Open, Volume 6, Issue 1, March 2022, Pages 1-6.

The published version is available at Copyright © Sagalow et al.


Objective: In the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020, elective and oncologic surgical cases were cancelled. After adequate safety protocols were established, each subspecialty within otolaryngology faced unique challenges in reengaging patients for surgical scheduling.

Study design: Retrospective review from March to May 2020.

Setting: Single academic institution.

Methods: Patients whose otolaryngology surgery was cancelled due to COVID-19 hospital precautions were identified. Rescheduling rates were analyzed by subspecialty. Case completion was determined as the percentage of initially cancelled cases that were completed within 6 months of their original planned dates.

Results: Of 833 otolaryngology cases scheduled between March 16 and May 29, 2020, a total of 555 (66.63%) were cancelled due to COVID-19 precautions, and 71.17% were rescheduled within 6 months. Cancellation and rescheduling rates per subspeciality were as follows, respectively: head and neck surgery, 42.79% and 88.76%; sleep surgery, 83.92% and 64.07%; rhinology and skull base, 72.67% and 64.80%; facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, 80.00% and 74.17%; otology and neurotology, 71.05% and 66.67%; and laryngology, 68.57% and 79.17%. The case completion rates were as follows: head and neck surgery, 95.2%; laryngology, 85.7%; facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, 79.3%; otology and neurotology, 76.3%; rhinology and skull base, 74.4%; and sleep surgery, 69.9%.

Conclusion: Differences for surgical rescheduling rates during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown exist among otolaryngology subspecialties. Our experience suggests that subspecialties that functioned on an elective nature were more likely to face lower rates of case completion.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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