INTRODUCTION: Reduced mobility due to COVID-19 prevention measures caused major changes in the number and types of orthopedic trauma cases. This study aimed to compare the profile of trauma-related general orthopedic surgery and hand surgery cases between the first 6 months of the COVID-19 pandemic and the corresponding periods of previous years in order to determine strategies for managing orthopedic traumas in unusual circumstances such as pandemics.
METHODS: Patients over 18 years old who underwent orthopedic surgery due to trauma were grouped according to surgery date as pre-pandemic group 1 (G1, March 16September 18, 2018), pre-pandemic group 2 (G2, March 18September 20, 2019), and the pandemic group (G3, March 19September 21, 2020).Between-group differences with p<0.05 were considered statistically significant.
RESULTS: The study included a total of 3522 patients: 1351 in G1, 1427 in G2, and 744 in G3. There was a significant decrease in the number of patients in G3 compared to the other groups (p≤0.001), while the number of hand surgeries did not differ significantly between the groups. As a result, the ratio of hand trauma surgeries to general orthopedic traumas was significantly higher in G3 (p <0.05).
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a decrease in orthopedic trauma surgeries and an increase in hand trauma surgeries. In this period of increased hand traumas, hand surgeons should be encouraged to intervene remotely using technology (telemedicine).