Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has disrupted the delivery of safe surgical care worldwide. One specific aspect of global surgical care that has been severely limited is the ability for physicians and trainees to participate in global surgical outreach programs in low- and middle-income countries. Methods: A narrative review of the literature regarding global surgical outreach programs during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic was performed. Factors that must be considered in the reinstatement of global surgical outreach programs were identified, and suggestions to address them were provided based on the available literature and the experiences of the senior authors. Results: As global surgical outreach programs were canceled at the start of the pandemic, many academic surgeons turned to digital solutions to continue to engage with low- and middle-income country partners. With the advent of coronavirus disease 2019 vaccines and improved access to testing and treatment worldwide, the recommencement of global surgical outreach programs may begin to be considered. Important considerations before initiation include vaccine and testing availability for visiting providers, local staff, and patients, local hospital capacity, staff and equipment shortages, and the characteristics of the patient population and visiting providers. Region- and country-specific factors, including local infection rates and concomitant health crises, must also be taken into account. Expansion of digital collaborative efforts may further deepen international connections and promote sustainable models of care. Conclusion: With careful consideration, global surgical outreach programs may begin to be safely restarted in the near future. The current article evaluates individual factors that must be considered to safely restart global surgical outreach programs as the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic is better controlled.
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