Impact of COVID-19 restrictions on hospitalisation and post-operative rehabilitation of head and neck cancer patients

Erika Crosetti, Martina Tascone, Giulia Arrigoni, Marco Fantini, Giovanni Succo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The COVID-19 pandemic emergency forced the health system in Italy to implement an immediate reorganisation to support the care of tens of thousands of patients and to maintain the quality of care for patients with other pathologies, such as oncologic diseases. The main goal of this study was to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on the hospitalisation and post-operative rehabilitation of head and neck oncologic patients and to determine whether the introduction of new technologies such as video-communication may be useful to mitigate social distancing by close family members.

Methods: Fifty-one consecutive patients underwent surgery for head and neck cancer during the period of lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The data collected (post-operative pain, post-operative complications, duration of hospitalisation) were compared with those of 51 consecutive patients treated for head and neck cancer in the period immediately preceding lockdown.

Results: The average duration of hospitalisation was longer in patients operated on in the COVID-19 period, and, in particular, among patients who underwent a more demanding rehabilitation protocol. Despite this, our study did not show a significant difference in psychological aspects during hospitalisation.

Conclusions: The greatest difficulties that occurred in the COVID-19 period were met by a greater commitment from medical staff, allowing the quality of life of head and neck cancer patients during post-operative rehabilitation to be maintained at a similar level to that before the pandemic. In the future, there will be a need for technological solutions to bring the patient closer to family members.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-495
Number of pages7
JournalActa otorhinolaryngologica Italica : organo ufficiale della Societa italiana di otorinolaringologia e chirurgia cervico-facciale
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms/surgery
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Quality of Life
  • SARS-CoV-2


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