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SAGES 2022 guidelines regarding the use of laparoscopy in the era of COVID-19.

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 has changed global healthcare since the pandemic began in 2020. The safety of minimally invasive surgery (MIS) utilizing insufflation from the standpoint of safety to the operating room personnel is currently being explored. The aims of this guideline are to examine the existing evidence to provide guidance regarding MIS for the patient with, or suspecting of having, the SARS-CoV-2 as well as the healthcare team involved.

METHODS: Systematic literature reviews were conducted for 2 key questions (KQ) regarding the safety of MIS in the setting of COVID-19 pandemic. Reporting followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis criteria. Evidence-based recommendations were formulated using a narrative synthesis of the literature by subject experts. Recommendations for future research were also proposed.

RESULTS: In KQ1, a total of 1361 articles were reviewed, with 2 articles meeting inclusion. In KQ2, a total of 977 articles were reviewed, with 4 articles met inclusions criteria, of which 2 studies reported on the SARS-CoV2 virus specifically. Despite many publications in the field, very little well-controlled and unbiased data exist to inform the recommendations. Of that which is available, it shows that both laparoscopic and open operations in Covid-positive patients had similar rates of OR staff positivity rates; however, patients who underwent laparoscopic procedures had a lower perioperative mortality than open procedures. Also, SARS-CoV-2 particles have been detected in the surgical plume at laparoscopy.

CONCLUSION: With demonstrated equivalence of operating room staff exposure, and noninferiority of laparoscopic access with respect to mortality, either laparoscopic or open approaches to abdominal operations may be used in patients with SARS-CoV-2. Measures should be employed for all laparoscopic or open cases to prevent exposure of operating room staff to the surgical plume, as virus can be present in this plume.

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