DOI: 10.1093/bjs/znad258.222 ISSN:

1030 Impact of COVID-19 on Operative Timing for Plastic Surgery Hand Trauma in a Plastic Surgery Tertiary Referral Centre

L Ishak, R Bramhall
  • Surgery



To evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on operative timing for hand trauma in a plastic surgery tertiary referral centre.


Data was collected retrospectively on 80 patients who underwent surgical management for closed hand fractures, digital nerve injuries, and tendon injuries. Forty patients were in the pre-covid group (Jan-Mar 2019) and 40 in the post-covid group (Jan-Mar 2022).

Outcome measures:Mean number of days between decision to operate and operation (operative delay time)Adherence to the operative timing requirements, as set by the British Society for Surgery of the Hand (BSSH)


There was a statistically significant difference in operative delay time between the pre-covid group and the post-covid pre-vaccine group for hand fractures (2.5 vs 3.9, P = 0.0503), tendon injuries (1.4 vs 2.2, p = 0.016), and overall (1.9 vs 3.3, p = 0.0024). There was no significant difference between the 2 groups for nerve injuries (3.8 vs 1.8, p = 0.3062).

In the post-covid group, BSSH operative timing requirements were met for a lower proportion of patients than the pre-covid group for hand fracture fixations (85% vs 100%), nerve repairs (87% vs 100%) tendon repairs (85% vs 100%). Overall, there was a statistically significant difference between the 2 groups (85% vs 100%, p = 0.0214).

Operative delays were documented as being related to COVID-19 in 100% of patients who did not meet BSSH operative timing requirements.


COVID-19 has had a significant impact on operative timing for plastic surgery hand trauma. Further studies are needed to evaluate the usefulness of various interventions in the recovery of services following the COVID-19 global pandemic.

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