Wai, Katherine C; Xu, Mary Jue; Lee, Rex H; El-Sayed, Ivan H; George, Jonathan R; Heaton, Chase M; Knott, P. Daniel; Park, Andrea M; Ryan, William R; Seth, Rahul; Ha, Patrick K
Head and neck surgery during the coronavirus-19 pandemic: The University of California San Francisco experience
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  • Head & neck, 2021-02-01, Vol.43 (2), p.622-629
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Background Guidelines regarding head and neck surgical care have evolved during the coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) pandemic. Data on operative management have been limited. Methods We compared two cohorts of patients undergoing head and neck or reconstructive surgery between March 16, 2019 and April 16, 2019 (pre-COVID-19) and March 16, 2020 and April 16, 2020 (COVID-19) at an academic center. Perioperative, intraoperative, and postoperative outcomes were recorded. Results There were 63 operations during COVID-19 and 84 operations during pre-COVID-19. During COVID-19, a smaller proportion of patients had benign pathology (12% vs 20%, respectively) and underwent thyroid procedures (2% vs 23%) while a greater proportion of patients underwent microvascular reconstruction +/- ablation (24% vs 12%,). Operative times increased, especially among patients undergoing microvascular reconstruction +/- ablation (687 +/- 112 vs 596 +/- 91 minutes, P = .04). Complication rates and length of stay were similar. Conclusions During COVID-19, perioperative outcomes were similar, operative time increased, and there were no recorded transmissions to staff or patients. Continued surgical management of head and neck cancer patients can be provided safely.

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