University of Oulu

Raitio A, Ahonen M, Jääskelä M, et al. Reduced Number of Pediatric Orthopedic Trauma Requiring Operative Treatment during COVID-19 Restrictions: A Nationwide Cohort Study. Scandinavian Journal of Surgery. 2021;110(2):254-257. doi:

Reduced number of pediatric orthopedic trauma requiring operative treatment during COVID-19 restrictions : a nationwide cohort study

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Author: Raitio, A.1; Ahonen, M.2; Jääskelä, M.3;
Organizations: 1Department of Pediatric Surgery and Orthopedics, University of Turku, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland
2Department of Pediatric Surgery and Orthopedics, Helsinki Children’s Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
3Department of Pediatric Surgery and Orthopedics, Oulu University Hospital and PEDEGO Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Department of Pediatric Surgery, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland
5Department of Pediatric Surgery, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: SAGE Publications, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-10-27


Background and Aims: The coronavirus outbreak significantly changed the need of healthcare services. We hypothesized that the COVID-19 pandemic decreased the frequency of pediatric fracture operations. We also hypothesized that the frequency of emergency pediatric surgical operations decreased as well, as a result of patient-related reasons, such as neglecting or underestimating the symptoms, to avoid hospital admission.

Materials and Methods: Nationwide data were individually collected and analyzed in all five tertiary pediatric surgical/trauma centers in Finland. Operations related to fractures, appendicitis, and acute scrotum in children aged above 16 years between March 1 and May 31 from 2017 to 2020 were identified. The monthly frequencies of operations and type of traumas were compared between prepandemic 3 years and 2020.

Results: Altogether, 1755 patients were identified in five tertiary hospitals who had an emergency operation during the investigation period. There was a significant decrease (31%, p = 0.03) in trauma operations. It was mostly due to reduction in lower limb trauma operations (32%, p = 0.006). Daycare, school, and organized sports–related injuries decreased significantly during the pandemic. These reductions were observed in March and in April. The frequencies of appendectomies and scrotal explorations remained constant.

Conclusion: According to the postulation, a great decrease in the need of trauma operations was observed during the peak of COVID-19 pandemic. In the future, in case similar public restrictions are ordered, the spared resources could be deployed to other clinical areas. However, the need of pediatric surgical emergencies held stable during the COVID-19 restrictions.

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Series: Scandinavian journal of surgery
ISSN: 1457-4969
ISSN-E: 1799-7267
ISSN-L: 1457-4969
Volume: 110
Issue: 2
Pages: 254 - 257
DOI: 10.1177/1457496920968014
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3126 Surgery, anesthesiology, intensive care, radiology
Copyright information: © The Finnish Surgical Society 2020. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (