Public Perceived Comfort for Undergoing Elective Plastic Surgery Procedures During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Samuel M. Manstein, Eric Shiah, Elizabeth Laikhter, Carly D. Comer, Samuel J. Lin
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
Background: Although the COVID-19 pandemic initially led to a drastic decline in the number of elective surgeries performed in the United States, the vaccine rollout has since been followed by a gradual resumption of elective surgery. However, many individuals remain cautious about visiting a hospital or clinic to undergo surgery. As many plastic surgeons are starting to resume elective surgeries at this time, it is important to understand the perspectives of potential patients and the concerns or fears they may have. Methods: A survey was created using REDCap and distributed to participants through Amazonís Mechanical Turk (mTurk) website during February and March of 2021. Inclusion criteria included U.S. citizens who were 18 years and older and considered having elective plastic surgery within the last three years. Participants were surveyed regarding their anatomical interest for surgery, views on the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccination status, how much COVID-19 has affected their interest in undergoing surgery, and what type of facility (hospital or private practice) they would feel more comfortable visiting. Result:S A total of 396 individuals participated in the survey. Since the start of the pandemic, 38.3% of respondents were either no longer willing or less willing to undergo elective plastic surgery. Seventy-three percent of respondents felt comfortable going to an office for a consultation. With regards to feeling comfortable visiting a hospital, 43.4% reported they would feel safe, 36% felt they would feel safe only if they could be discharged on the same day, and 30.6% reported not feeling safe. Fifty-two percent of respondents reported feeling comfortable undergoing surgery now or within the next year. Nineteen percent of respondents reported that they do not plan on getting vaccinated. Notably, those not planning on getting vaccinated were significantly more likely to still want surgery compared to those who were either fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated, or planning on getting vaccinated (OR 2.13, 95% CI 1.21-3.76, p = 0.008). Those who do not think COVID-19 is a major health issue were significantly more likely than those who do think it is a major issue to still want plastic surgery (OR 3.78, 95% CI 1.54-9.25, p = 0.002). Conclusion: The results of this study highlight that the majority of patients, regardless of vaccination status, currently feel comfortable undergoing elective plastic surgery, particularly in an office setting. Plastic surgeons may expect to see a return in demand for elective procedures in the coming months.
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