Laparoscopic Surgery and the debate on its safety during COVID-19 pandemic: A systematic review of recommendations
El Boghdady, Michael
Ewalds-Kvist, Beatrice Marianne
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Introduction: The transmission of COVID-19 virus since the outbreak of viral pneumonia due to SARS-CoV-2 gave rise to protective operative measures. Aerosol generating procedures such as laparoscopic surgery are known to be associated with increased risks of viral transmission to the healthcare workers. The safety of laparoscopy during the pandemic was then debated. We aimed to systematically review the literature regarding the safe use of laparoscopy during COVID-19. Methods: We performed a systematic search using PubMed and ScienceDirect databases from inception to 1st May, 2020. The following search terms were used: ‘‘laparoscopic surgery and COVID-19’’; ‘‘minimally invasive surgery and COVID-19’’. Search items were considered from the nature of the articles, date of publication, aims and findings in relation to use of laparoscopic surgery during COVID-19. The study protocol was registered with PROSPERO register for systematic reviews (CRD42020183432). Results: Altogether, 174 relevant citations were identified and reviewed for this study, of which 22 articles were included. The analysis of the findings in relation to laparoscopic surgery during the pandemic were presented in tabular form. We completed the common recommendations for performing laparoscopy during the COVID-19 pandemic in forms of pre-, intra- and postoperative phases. Conclusion: There is no scientific evidence to date for the transmission of COVID-19 by laparoscopic surgery. Laparoscopy can be used with precautions because of its benefits compared to open surgery. If safe, conservative management is the primary alternative during the pandemic. We concluded that recommended precautions should be respected while performing laparoscopy during the pandemic.