As patients begin to look at what’s to come when lockdown measures in place are relaxed a new logistical puzzle will pop for some.
Patients seeking reconstructive breast surgery after surgical centers are allowed to reopen after COVID-19 should trust their regional health systems to triage cases in a responsible fashion and expect them to be handled on a priority basis, according to one expert.
As the novel coronavirus has spread across the world, all elective surgeries, including breast reconstruction, have been delayed. Many women with breast cancer may wonder what might happen once plastic surgeons are given the greenlight to reopen and schedule reconstructive surgeries again.
In an interview with CURE®, Dr. Jonathan Bank, a board-certified plastic surgeon at New York Breast Reconstruction and Aesthetic (NYBRA) Plastic Surgery, discussed the planning that will go on to ensure there is very limited disruption to rescheduling appointments, as well as certain instances where challenges might ensue.
“… Trust your regional health system to triage the cases in a responsible fashion,” Bank, who specializes in breast reconstruction after cancer, said. “There's going to be a combination of administrators, but also professional medical staff that, in consultation with doctors that are managing the specific cases, will come to an understanding. I'm sure there is going to be extensive planning and just dealing with things on a priority basis.”
Bank explained that most hospitals and surgical centers allot surgeons a certain amount of time either per week or per month to perform their scheduled procedures. In some instances, such as with NYBRA Plastic Surgery, surgeons will operate out of several sites to coordinate surgeries and allow flexibility to see more patients. However, Bank noted that not everyone operates out of several sites which could be tricky when trying to reschedule with patients.
“It’s going to be an interesting logistical puzzle to manage, but in this day and age we have to do what is good for all of us and see what happens when we do and when we don't, so I think this is just an extension to what the world is experiencing,” he said.