The Effects of Waiting for Surgery Amid COVID-19

The Effects of Waiting for Surgery Amid COVID-19

It has been reported through a recent study that over 28 million surgeries around the world could be cancelled during the 12 week peak of COVID-19.  It estimated an additional 2.4 million cancellations would happen for each extra week of shutdowns.  The backlog could take 45 weeks or longer to catch up.  This number could become longer depending on the length of time it takes for countries to open back up as well as a possible second wave this fall.

While the cancellations were necessary, they will have a substantial impact to the patient.  Anytime you delay a necessary surgery, you put your overall health and quality of life at risk.  This includes non-essential surgeries such as a hip replacement or spine surgery.   These may be deemed non-urgent, however, the more time that goes by before having a necessary surgery, the more likely you become disabled.  

Canada has always had a wait list for many kinds of surgeries.  The impact of the pandemic is still unknown.  We do know that it will likely create not only a financial burden, but could create increased health issues as well.

Some of the effects from waiting for your surgery in Canada can be:

  • Loss in wages.  It is estimated in Canada that prior to COVID-19, the amount of wages lost in 2019 was about $2.1 billion.  This equates to an average of $1,963 for each of the estimated 1 million + Canadians waiting for treatment.  With the shutdowns and delayed surgeries, it is now estimated this grows to $6.4 billion in lost wages or $5,972 per person.
  • Increased chance of making the medical condition or the injury worse. If a doctor determined surgery is needed for your condition, it is most likely the case.  Waiting to have the surgery varies greatly depending on what needs done.  Something deemed non-essential, such as an orthopedic surgery, can result in issues with long term, non-reversible effects if not dealt with in a reasonable amount of time.  
  • Increase chance of opioid dependency.  Being in pain can sometimes require a prescription pain medication.  While opioids have recently been limited, they are still being given on the short-term.  The longer you are on these, the higher chance you have of developing an addiction.  
  • Depression.  It’s safe to say that if you are in pain, your mood can change quickly.  Being in constant pain can not only drain your motivation and spirit, it can also cause you become immobile.  This is never good for your health, let alone mental health.  The frustration of not being able to feel well and inability to live your life as you’d like can cause you to slip into a depression.

If you find yourself in a position where you cannot wait any longer, give us a call.  We have several private options back open and available to do your surgery.  You can reach us at 877-344-3544 or

Health Vantis


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