Elective Surgical Procedures Postponed by COVID-19

Published on Apr 17, 2020

COVID-19 Impact Tracker

Leading medtech market research firm Life Science Intelligence (LSI) has been tracking surgical procedure volumes across 37 countries for the last decade. The firm is seeing massive shifts in volumes occurring as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. As a result, the company has released new forecasts for the US and Big-5 Europe in its new COVID-19 Impact Tracker Platform. The company reports that data from China, Japan, South Korea and several other key countries will also be released in the forthcoming weeks.

This new tool was launched to support medical device & diagnostic executives as they navigate these challenging times. Our customers are trying to quantify the current impact to their markets so they can protect resources, and they are also preparing for the inevitable rebound so they can capitalize when the market turns. We’re here to give them independent, logical and thoroughly researched data so they can support their most critical decisions.


Surgical procedure volumes in the U.S. are experiencing a significant decline as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, due to postponement or cancellation of elective procedures and, to a lesser degree, elimination of procedures that would have been performed on patients who die as a result of contracting COVID-19 disease. From 2019 to 2020, procedure volume is projected to decline substantially, followed by a major increase in 2021. The increase in 2021 is expected to result from the backlog of procedures postponed in 2020 which will add to the normal number of procedures estimated for 2021 in the absence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Not all of the procedures postponed in 2020 are expected to be recovered in 2021, since some patients who resort to alternative treatments (e.g., medical therapy, physical therapy) may decide to continue with those treatments and forgo surgery, although this trend will not occur for all types of procedures. In addition, it may be difficult for surgical services to accommodate such a large increase in volume, although the increase in comparison to 2021 procedure volume which is forecast to occur in absence of backlog procedures is only about 10%.

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