COVID-19 Vaccination & the Timing of Surgery After COVID-19 Infection


The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not the type or status of anesthesia influenced the short-term risks associated with surgery after infection with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). It is recommended that surgical procedures after a COVID-19 infection be postponed to reduce the risk of complications. However, previous research relied on samples from populations where vaccination rates were low or non-existent vaccination rates performed on all patients in a health care system who had a scheduled surgery between January 1, 2018 and February 28, 2022 ( N=228,913). Patients were categorized into those who underwent surgery within the first four weeks after a positive test for COVID-19 (“early post-COVID-19”), those who underwent surgery between the fifth and thirtieth week after a positive test for COVID-19 (“mid-post-COVID-19”), those who underwent surgery more than eight weeks after a positive test for COVID-19 (“late post-COVID-19”), those who underwent surgery at least 30 days before a subsequent COVID-19. The early post-COVID-19 group had a significantly higher adjusted rate of perioperative complications than the pre-COVID-19 group (relative risk: 1.55; P=0.05), but only in patients who were not fully vaccinated at the time of infection with COVID-19. No statistically significant difference in risk was seen between patients who were fully vaccinated (0.66; P=1.00) and those who were not fully vaccinated but underwent surgery with local anesthesia (0.52; P=0.83). Patients who were fully immunized or who underwent surgery without general anesthesia did not face increased risks from having surgery immediately after contracting COVID-19. Previous infection with COVID-19 has been associated with increased perioperative risks, but this relationship is complex and further studies are needed to better understand it.



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