BACKGROUND: The impact of COVID-19 outbreak in the neurosurgical practice has been dramatic, imposing several limitations. The aim of this study is to present how the neurosurgical departments of Emilia-Romagna, a northern Italian region, have re-set their organization to maintain the higher standard of care as possible.
METHODS: All OR and out-patients activities performed during the COVID-19 emergency in the neurosurgical department of Emilia-Romagna have been collected and compared to the means of the same timeframe in 2018 and 2019.
RESULTS: In 2020, 205 surgical procedures and 466 out-patients consultations have been performed, representing respectively 28.8% and 26.4% of the previous biennium. The most of OR procedures had been emergencies/urgencies and oncological patients (respectively 113 and 66 vs 164.5 and 84.5 of the previous biennium), while elective surgeries decrease up to -97.1%, as for spinal nerves and endoscopic skull base procedures. The patients phone contacts and telemedicine evaluations of their examinations have permitted to reduce the hospital access for outpatients of 75.6%, but these modalities have, also, permitted to follow-up a large number of cases.
CONCLUSIONS: The outbreak of COVID-19 has imposed several limits to our current practice, however this should not represent an excuse to reduce the standard of care. In our experience, the net integration of different local centers has permitted for each of them to effectively cope the crisis, managing the local cases requiring a prompt surgery and keeping the care continuity with already discharged patients.