Low Risk Of COVID-19 Infection Among Patients Undergoing Hea
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A recent international observational study provides important data on the safety of head and neck cancer surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study is part of the COVIDSurg Collaborative, an initiative to describe surgical practices during the early period of the pandemic.

The problems were particularly acute in head and neck cancer surgery because for many cases, cure is dependent on surgery, but there was great concern about spreading infection from aerosol-generating procedures in the airway," said corresponding author Richard J. Shaw, MD, FDS, FRCS, of The University of Liverpool Cancer Research Centre, in the U.K.

The researchers examined information on 1,137 patients with head and neck cancer undergoing potentially curative surgery in 26 countries. The most common sites were the oral cavity and the thyroid. The death rate within 30 days after surgery was 1.2 percent. Also, 29 patients tested positive for COVID-19 within 30 days of surgery; of these 13 developed severe respiratory complications and three died.

The early consensus was that head and neck surgery was very risky for patients or those who required complex procedures or reconstructive surgery.The researchers concluded that their data is reassuring in this regard, showing that there is no additional risk of COVID-19 for these groups.

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