NYMC Faculty Publications


Assessment of Level of Fear in Adult Patients Undergoing Elective Urogynecologic and Gynecologic Procedures and Surgeries During the COVID-19 Pandemic Using the Validated Surgical Fear Questionnaire

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Obstetrics and Gynecology


OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to assess and trend fears surrounding elective surgery and office procedures in benign gynecologic and urogynecologic patients during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. METHODS: This was a multicenter, prospective, observational study. Recruitment occurred from June 23, 2020, to March 23, 2021. Females 18 years or older presenting for elective benign gynecologic or urogynecologic surgery or office procedures were eligible. Patients were excluded if non-English speaking or undergoing an emergent procedure or surgery. Fear was assessed by the Surgical Fear Questionnaire (SFQ), which was also modified to include 2-4 additional questions pertaining to COVID-19 (modified version of the Surgical Fear Questionnaire [mSFQ]). Total SFQ scores and short- and long-term fear scores were compared between procedures and surgery and to historic data. RESULTS: A total of 209 patients undergoing 107 procedures or 102 surgical procedures completed the questionnaire. Participants were separated into subgroups determined by the timing of questionnaire completion related to phases of the pandemic. The most common procedure was urodynamics (n = 59 [55%]). The most common elective surgical procedure was hysterectomy (n = 59 [57.8%]). Furthermore, 72.5% of surgical procedures were for urogynecologic indications.Fear levels were low and not different in patients undergoing procedures versus surgery (12.38 ± 12.44 vs 12.03 ± 16.01, P = 0.958). There was no difference between procedures versus surgery for short- (6.21 ± 8.38 vs 6.81 ± 8.44, P = 0.726) or long-term fear (6.18 ± 8.89 vs 5.22 ± 8.20, P = 0.683). Compared with historic data, our hysterectomy patients had less surgical fear. The mSFQ demonstrated higher fear scores for both procedures and surgery (mSFQ, 20.57 ± 20.55 for procedures; 28.78 ± 28.51 for surgery). There were no significant fluctuations in SFQ score in relation to critical COVID-19 events. CONCLUSIONS: Fear of surgery and office procedures was low and consistent throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and lower than historic data.