Environmental effects of surgical procedures and strategies for sustainable surgery

Miguel F. Cunha*, Gianluca Pellino

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


There is a bidirectional relationship between climate change and health care. Climate change threatens public health, and health care contributes to climate change. For example, surgery is the most energy-intensive practice in the health-care sector, and gastrointestinal conditions are responsible for a substantial environmental burden. However, environmental costs associated with health care are often overlooked. This issue has been examined more closely in current times. Emerging data are mainly focused on surgery, as the most resource-intensive practice. However, there is still a lack of global awareness and guidance on sustainable surgical practices. This Perspective aims to reassess the evidence on health care and surgery carbon footprints, focusing on gastrointestinal conditions, identify issues that need to be addressed to achieve a more sustainable practice and develop perspectives for future surgical procedures. The proposed framework to mitigate the environmental effects of surgery could be translated to other health-care sectors.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalNature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Dec 2022


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