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Background and Objectives: The global outbreak caused by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic disrupted healthcare worldwide, impacting the organization of intensive care units and surgical care units. This study aimed to document the daily neurosurgical activity in Alsace, France, one of the European epicenters of the pandemic, and provide evidence of the adaptive strategies deployed during such a critical time for healthcare services. Materials and Methods: The multicentric longitudinal study was based on a prospective cohort of patients requiring neurosurgical care in the Neurosurgical Departments of Alsace, France, between March 2020 and March 2022. Surgical activity was compared with pre-pandemic performances through data obtained from electronic patient records. Results: A total of 3842 patients benefited from care in a neurosurgical unit during the period of interest; 2352 of them underwent surgeries with a wide range of pathologies treated. Surgeries were initially limited to neurosurgical emergencies only, then urgent cases were slowly reinstated; however, a significant drop in surgical volume and case mix was noticed during lockdown (March–May 2020). The crisis continued to impact surgical activity until March 2022; functional procedures were postponed, though some spine surgeries could progressively be performed starting in October 2021. Various social factors, such as increased alcohol consumption during the pandemic, influenced the severity of traumatic pathologies. The progressive return to the usual profile of surgical activity was characterized by a rebound of oncological interventions. Deferrable procedures for elective spinal and functional pathologies were the most affected, with unexpected medical and social impacts. Conclusions: The task shifting and task sharing approaches implemented during the first wave of the pandemic supported the reorganization of neurosurgical care in its aftermath and enabled the safe and timely execution of a broad spectrum of surgeries. Despite the substantial disruption to routine practices, marked by a significant reduction in elective surgical volumes, comprehensive records demonstrate the successful management of the full range of neurosurgical pathologies. This underscores the efficacy of adaptive strategies in navigating the challenges imposed by the largest healthcare crisis in recent history. Those lessons will continue to provide valuable insights and guidance for health and care managers to prepare for future unpredictable scenarios.

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Journal article





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390 - 390