Exploring the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Canadian wait times for elective spinal surgery

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University of New Brunswick


Background: Increased waiting times for spinal surgeries can have detrimental effects on patients, and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is unknown. Aim: To identify the impact on wait time days for spine surgery of the Covid-19 pandemic and to quantify the number of patients awaiting surgery and surgeries being performed. Study Design: Longitudinal analysis of prospectively collected data. Study Outcomes: Days between surgical consultation to surgery (T2) and days between general practitioner referral to surgery (T3), the number of patients awaiting surgery, and the counts of spinal surgeries performed. Data Analysis: Quantile regression was used to identify median wait time days. Counts were used to report waitlists and surgeries. Results: The Covid-19 pandemic had a significant negative impact on both the national T2 and T3 wait times for elective and non-elective cohorts. Patients on the waitlist for both cohorts increased during the pandemic, and the number of surgeries being performed declined.