Safe surgery during the coronavirus disease 2019 crisis

David R. Tivey, Sean S. Davis, Joshua G. Kovoor, Wendy J. Babidge, Lorwai Tan, Thomas J. Hugh, Trevor G. Collinson, Peter J. Hewett, Robert T.A. Padbury, Guy J. Maddern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has created a global pandemic. Surgical care has been impacted, with concerns raised around surgical safety, especially in terms of laparoscopic versus open surgery. Due to potential aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2, precautions during aerosol-generating procedures and production of surgical plume are paramount for the safety of surgical teams. Methods: A rapid review methodology was used with evidence sourced from PubMed, Departments of Health, surgical colleges and other health authorities. From this, a working group of expert surgeons developed recommendations for surgical safety in the current environment. Results: Pre-operative testing of surgical patients with reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction does not guarantee lack of infectivity due to a demonstrated false-negative rate of up to 30%. All bodily tissues and fluids should therefore be treated as a potential source of COVID-19 infection during operative management. Caution must be taken, especially when using an energy source that produces surgical plumes, and an appropriate capture device should also be used. Limiting the use of such devices or using lower energy devices is desirable. To reduce perceived risks association with desufflation of pneumoperitoneum during laparoscopic surgery, an appropriate suction irrigator system, attached to a high-efficiency particulate air filter, should be used. Additionally, appropriate use of personal protective equipment by the surgical team is necessary during high-risk aerosol-generating procedures. Conclusions: As a result of the rapid review, evidence-based guidance has been produced to support safe surgical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1553-1557
Number of pages5
JournalANZ Journal of Surgery
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020


  • COVID-19
  • operative
  • safety
  • specialties, surgical
  • standards
  • surgical procedures


Dive into the research topics of 'Safe surgery during the coronavirus disease 2019 crisis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this