Pradeep Balasubramanian of Dubai Discusses Why Surgeries Shouldn’t Wait Until After COVID

Dr Pradeep Bala

February 26, 2021

Pradeep Balasubramanian of Dubai discusses how orthopedic surgeries are safe during COVID-19.

Around the globe, people are choosing to postpone their surgical needs due to COVID. They cite health and safety reasons and avoiding risking exposure to COVID as reasons to postpone surgical treatment. Meanwhile, their surgical problems only get worse. Pradeep Balasubramanian of Dubai explains why surgeries should not wait until after the pandemic is over.

Pradeep Balasubramanian, a shoulder elbow and hand surgeon in the UAE, explains that many injuries have to be quickly taken care of. A torn rotator cuff, for example, will often need surgery. It involves attaching the tendon back to the upper end of the arm bone. In other instances, nerves in the upper limb will need to be freed up or repaired, or else permanent damage may result.

Without having the surgery for rotator cuff tears for eg, Pradeep Balasubramanian explains that various issues can occur. A patient may start to experience more pain from progressive arthritis. Depending on how one uses the arm and shoulder, specific motion can lead to more tearing of the tendons. With the muscles not in use for an extended period, there is also the risk of atrophy.

While Pradeep Balasubramanian recognizes that many people may not want surgery during COVID-19, he also explains that many do not get to choose. Health authorities and insurance companies often suspend elective surgery during a pandemic spike. In the current scenario, we see no immediate end to the pandemic in sight. Countries should now be better prepared for pandemic spikes with manpower, bedspace, and health supplies and resort less to suspending insurances or elective surgery. Whether the surgery is for a shoulder problem, an elbow condition, or anything else, surgery is only advised when absolutely necessary. It is aimed at alleviating the pain and allowing a person to regain full use of the extremity.

Postponing a recommended surgery may only lead to more extensive surgery later on. It may also require months of additional physical therapy because of loss of strength of weakened muscles. It may also lead to permanent damage of the joint such as arthritis. Pradeep Balasubramanian of Dubai explains that surgeries can be safe during COVID because of the extra precautions taken.

While it is not ideal to go into a hospital or surgical center during a global pandemic, Pradeep Balasubramanian identifies that there are plenty of ways to stay safe. Most surgeries are performed far away from anyone who may have contracted COVID-19. Many hospitals catering to elective surgery declare themselves Covid free. Most operating theatres require a Covid test before a patient is taken up for surgery. Healthcare workers are among the first to be vaccinated in any country. Additionally, operating theatres are taking extra precautions to keep patients safe apart from regular Covid safe protocols.

Pradeep Balasubramanian provides statistics, reminding patients that according to CDC and WHO, a tiny percentage of people will get sick from being in contact with other people at a healthcare facility. He reminds them to recognize the importance of mask-wearing and social distancing.

After any injury, the goal should be to get the patient back into the best possible health at the earliest, be it resetting the bone, repairing the tendon or nerve, or anything else. Pradeep Balasubramanian explains that the longer one postpones a surgery, the greater the risk of further injury and even permanent damage.

About Pradeep Balasubramanian of Dubai

Pradeep Balasubramanian was born in Vellore, India, and is trained globally as a Shoulder, Elbow, and Hand surgeon. He has over a decade of experience in teaching, research, and post-graduate training and has completed three international fellowships in orthopedic surgery. Pradeep Balasubramanian himself has been involved in sports from a very early age and currently enjoys working to get athletes back into the game. Currently, Pradeep Balasubramanian of Dubai is a visiting upper limb surgeon through two emirates in the UAE.