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Put off an elective surgery during the pandemic? This is why it’s the perfect time to get it done.

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During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals across the country cancelled elective surgeries. Even as these surgeries were able to be performed again, some people still felt unsure about going to the hospital for a procedure that was necessary but not urgently needed. But that decision left many people in pain, with uncomfortable symptoms or at risk of their conditions getting worse.

These are some elective surgeries many people postponed and that typically require little or no hospital stay:

      • Gallbladder removal: Laparoscopic gallbladder surgery, which uses miniature surgical tools and tiny incisions, is usually a same-day procedure and you can go home as soon as you can walk on your own and eat and drink. If you have traditional surgery, you may need to stay in the hospital for one or two days. It may take one to six weeks to return to your usual activities after gallbladder surgery, depending on the procedure type.
      • Hernia repair: This can be done using minimally invasive laparoscopic or traditional surgery. With both types of surgeries, you can usually go home the same day. You may be able to return to work within a week of laparoscopic surgery but will need a longer recovery period for traditional surgery. You’ll also need to avoid heavy lifting or strenuous activities for a while.
      • Cataract surgery: After your same-day cataract surgery, you’ll be in the recovery area for about 30 minutes and can then go home. You may be able to drive 24 hours after surgery and return to your usual activities after two or three days, but you’ll need to avoid heavy lifting or strenuous activities for two weeks.
      • Joint replacement surgery: Joint replacement surgery usually requires a two- to three-day stay in the hospital. Depending on the type of surgery, you may be able to carry out your usual daily activities three or more weeks after surgery. You’ll also need physical therapy to help strengthen your muscles and improve joint mobility.

Now that life is returning to normal and you may be vaccinated against COVID-19, it’s the perfect time to reschedule these or other postponed surgeries. This will help alleviate pain and can stop any worsening of your condition. As an added bonus, having surgery now offers these benefits:

      • Time to recuperate. Is your workload typically a little lighter during the summer? Do you have days off that you haven’t used yet this year? If you have surgery in the next month or two, you’ll have time to recuperate without worrying that work will pile up while you’re out.
      • Work-from-home convenience. If you’re working from home but your employer plans to require in-office work soon, scheduling surgery as soon as possible will allow you to recover while you’re working from home, rather than commuting and spending your days in the office.
      • Safety. Hospitals and surgical centers have well-developed safety routines in place to reduce your risk of catching COVID-19 while you’re there. If you’ve already gotten your COVID-19 vaccine, you’ve got an extra layer of protection.

Many elective surgeries allow you to go home the same day, the next day or at most a few days later. This means you don’t have to spend much time (if any) in the hospital and can do your recuperating in the comfort of your own home. If you’ve been putting off a surgical procedure you need, now is a great time to schedule it.

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Date Last Reviewed: May 18, 2021

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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