The Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Spine Surgeons Worldwide

Philip K. Louie, Garrett K. Harada, Michael H. McCarthy, Niccole Germscheid, Jason P.Y. Cheung, Marko H. Neva, Mohammad El-Sharkawi, Marcelo Valacco, Daniel M. Sciubba, Norman B. Chutken, Howard S. An, Dino Samartzis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Study Design: Cross-sectional, international survey. Objectives: The current study addressed the multi-dimensional impact of COVID-19 upon healthcare professionals, particularly spine surgeons, worldwide. Secondly, it aimed to identify geographical variations and similarities. Methods: A multi-dimensional survey was distributed to surgeons worldwide. Questions were categorized into domains: demographics, COVID-19 observations, preparedness, personal impact, patient care, and future perceptions. Results: 902 spine surgeons representing 7 global regions completed the survey. 36.8% reported co-morbidities. Of those that underwent viral testing, 15.8% tested positive for COVID-19, and testing likelihood was region-dependent; however, 7.2% would not disclose their infection to their patients. Family health concerns were greatest stressor globally (76.0%), with anxiety levels moderately high. Loss of income, clinical practice and current surgical management were region-dependent, whereby 50.4% indicated personal-protective-equipment were not adequate. 82.3% envisioned a change in their clinical practice as a result of COVID-19. More than 33% of clinical practice was via telemedicine. Research output and teaching/training impact was similar globally. 96.9% were interested in online medical education. 94.7% expressed a need for formal, international guidelines to manage COVID-19 patients. Conclusions: In this first, international study to assess the impact of COVID-19 on surgeons worldwide, we identified overall/regional variations and infection rate. The study raises awareness of the needs and challenges of surgeons that will serve as the foundation to establish interventions and guidelines to face future public health crises.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)534-552
Number of pages19
JournalGlobal Spine Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


  • COVID-19
  • coronavirus
  • global
  • impact
  • spine surgeons
  • worldwide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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