To fight the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, many countries have implemented social distancing and lockdowns. We investigated the changes in the trauma patterns of emergency plastic surgeries in the midst of a pandemic.
A retrospective review of the medical records of all patients treated for emergency plastic surgeries was performed at our hospital in Seoul. We conducted the analysis between March 1 and June 30, 2020, and compared the data obtained with that of the same period in 2019. We also investigated changes in trauma patterns according to the social distancing level from July 2020 to February 2021.
There was a total of 800 emergency plastic surgery patients from March to June 2020, which was less than the 981 in the corresponding period in 2019. The proportion of patients aged 7-17 years and ≥ 80 in 2020 showed a significant decrease. In 2020, patients presenting with facial trauma decreased and hand trauma, markedly laceration, increased significantly. In 2020, more injuries happened at home, whereas significantly fewer injuries happened on the streets. In 2020, slipping and sports injury decreased, whereas penetrating injury increased significantly. In the changes observed according to the social distancing level, there were significant differences in age classification, facial open wound, and the mechanism of injury.
Social distancing has caused a change in emergency plastic surgeries. To ensure safe and appropriate treatment, strict epidemiologic workup and protective equipment are required.

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