Orthopedic Surgery And COVID-19 Considerations

Monday, November 2nd, 2020

As of September 17, 2020, patients in Texas CAN receive elective surgeries. This includes orthopedic surgeries like total joint replacement. The numbers of COVID-19 cases in Amarillo have fluctuated since the pandemic began earlier this year, so of course, this is subject to change. For now, there are some general guidelines to follow and things to know if you need orthopedic surgery.

How COVID-19 is affecting the Texas Panhandle

Cases of the virus are increasing in Amarillo and Lubbock, so much so that the Governor has sent in extra hospital staff and resources to help. Experts state that the large increase is due to more public gatherings and people choosing not to follow mask recommendations.

Hospitals in Amarillo and Lubbock, two hotspots within the state, are struggling to keep up. It isn’t that hospitals don’t have enough beds, but that they don’t have enough staff or supplies. This is why the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Texas Division of Emergency Management are sending in needed professionals.

Precautions everyone should take

By now, most if not all people are familiar with the precautions that help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Amarillo, Texas is currently at Level Red, which means that hospital capacity is stressed. Because of this, it would not be surprising if elective surgeries were put on hold again. Here are the precautions everyone should be taking to help prevent this from happening.

  1. Practice social distancing as much as possible. If you can, stay at home.
  2. Use a mask in public spaces. Make sure you are wearing it properly and washing it every day.
  3. Wash your hands regularly.
  4. Disinfect surfaces in your home, vehicle, and workspace often.
  5. Have hand sanitizer readily available.
  6. If you have symptoms, call your doctor rather than going in immediately. This gives them time to prepare for your arrival.
  7. There are options for testing other than a hospital or your primary care physician. The City of Amarillo and Texas Tech Physicians have set up drive-through testing at the fairgrounds. For this, you must call (806) 378-6300 for pre-screening.

What to know if you need surgery

First, remember that things are subject to change due to the nature of COVID-19. Next, stay in contact with your surgeon to make sure everything will happen as planned. Finally, stay healthy! If you are healthy, you will be a better candidate for surgery. Here are some other things to keep in mind.

  1. Not every orthopedic surgery is elective, although many types are. These include total joint replacement, sports injury treatments, and even arthritis treatments.
  2. Emergency orthopedic surgeries will likely not be postponed. Broken bones that pose a risk of further injury, bone tumors, open wounds, tendon ruptures, and certain disk herniations count as emergency situations.
  3. If you are concerned about getting surgery or would prefer to wait, speak with your surgeon about the pros and cons of doing so
  4. If you are hurt, don’t wait to see a doctor. Call an orthopedic doctor if you think you might need surgery to see what your options are.
  5. You will likely receive at least one or two COVID tests (before and after surgery) to ensure you do not have the virus.
  6. You should quarantine for a few days before and after surgery to be safe.
  7. Some patients are considered high risk for contracting COVID or just getting surgery at any point in time. Patients with obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and hypertension or other pulmonary conditions should think carefully before getting surgery.

Orthopedic surgery in the Texas Panhandle

Dr. Dear and the Team at Texas Panhandle Orthopedics in Amarillo, Texas are prepared to get you back to living your best life. We see patients with a variety of conditions and offer both surgical and non-surgical treatments. Dr. Dear is credentialed to perform surgery at Quail Creek Surgical Hospital, Panhandle Surgical Hospital, Surgery Center of Amarillo, Northwest Texas Surgical Hospital on Soncy, BSA Hospital, and Northwest Texas Hospital.

To set up an appointment or speak with Dr. Dear, call (806) 502-6570 and view our Services for more information. New Patients can complete all necessary forms online to make the process easier and safer as well.