Author(s): Philippine Spine Society
With the COVID-19 pandemic, prevention and control of viral spread is of utmost importance. As we try to allay our patients’ anxiety over their spine illness, there is also that concurrent fear of possible infection during hospital visits. Our patients’ conditions continue to be our priority, and current health conditions have modified our care for our spine patients.
The Philippine Spine Society has been closely monitoring the health crisis and have been keeping abreast on the latest guidelines in managing patients with spine conditions. We recognize that there is a sense of urgency in treating spine conditions, and in some unavoidable instances, the spine surgeon may need to perform an emergency spine procedure. Therefore, the PSS, being an affiliate of both the PCS and the POA, strongly advocate the guidelines set by the PCS (dated 22 March 2020) in conducting emergency surgeries. In line with this, we strongly support the additional guidelines set by the POA regarding orthopaedic conditions that are requiring emergent surgical intervention (dated 04 April 2020).
In critical spine cases, our main objective remains to preserve spinal cord function, and if needed, emergency surgical intervention may be embarked upon in order to do so. These cases are, but not limited to, spine cases needing immediate decompression, presenting as progressive neurologic deterioration or sudden onset of neurologic deficits, spinal instability which may lead to a neurologic injury, and spinal fracture with an obvious displacement and compression. Additionally, surgical intervention for spine infections, such as epidural abscess or post-operative wound infections, need to be addressed immediately. Guidelines on hospital admission should follow the hospital’s policies regarding admission of patients. In non-critical cases, elective surgeries should be delayed after the crisis, to limit exposure and risk of infection.
Key words: spine surgery during COVID 19