Outpatient surgery is making surgical solutions to medical problems a more appealing option.
Also known as same-day surgery or ambulatory surgery, outpatient surgery does not require an overnight stay in the hospital. Outpatient patients go home within 24 hours of their procedure (hence the “same-day surgery” moniker).
Outpatient surgery is growing in popularity
As much effort goes into making a hospital stay as pleasant as possible, most of us would rather be at home.
With surgical innovations like laparoscopic surgery and robotic-assisted surgery, we’re able to perform more procedures through a series of tiny incisions. This means less blood loss, less pain and less risk of infection, as well as a faster recovery.
It also means easier wound care, so you’ll not need to spend much time under the direct supervision of medical professionals. If you’re living with pain that can be solved with outpatient surgery, a few days of recovery is more attractive than continuing with months or years of discomfort.
What types of surgeries are offered as outpatient?
The number of outpatient surgeries performed in the United States has tripled in the past 30 years. This is in part because of innovations in technologies and surgical techniques that have expanded the types of procedures can be offered — and because more and more patients expect it.
Some of the most common outpatient surgeries offered include:
- Orthopedic procedures, like tendon and muscle repair, meniscus repair and small joint repairs
- Gallbladder removal, or cholecystectomy
- Hernia repair
- Skin surgeries, both to remove skin cancers and cosmetic procedures for wrinkles, scars or acne
- Lumpectomies to remove cancerous tumors for breast cancer
- Ear, nose and throat procedures — like removal of the tonsils and adenoids — as well as sinus procedures and removal of nasal polyps
Where is outpatient surgery offered?
Since outpatient surgery does not require a hospital stay, the options for where you can have surgery have grown to include hospital-based surgery centers and outpatient surgery centers.
In west Georgia and east Alabama, Tanner Health System has outpatient surgery programs at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton, Tanner Medical Center/Villa Rica and Higgins General Hospital. We’re also working to expand surgical options at Tanner Medical Center/East Alabama in Wedowee.
What should I know about outpatient surgery?
There are a few things to consider when choosing outpatient surgery:
- You have more responsibility for your recovery. You’ll need someone to drive you home after the procedure and you’ll have to follow your discharge instructions, which may include medications and directions to follow-up with a medical provider.
- There may be side effects from the procedure. You may experience tenderness around the surgical site. Medication and the aftereffects of anesthesia can cause nausea, fatigue and dizziness.
- You’ll need to know when to get help. You and your caregiver will have to be aware of signs that you may need to call for help, such as redness around the surgical site, fever, difficulty urinating, abnormally cold fingers or toes and others. Your surgical center staff will go over all of this before you go home.
Make a list of questions or concerns for your medical provider, have a trusted loved one to drive you the day of your surgery, and don’t over-do it after your procedure.
Overall, outpatient surgery is a safe, effective option for many surgery patients. It allows you to return to daily life more quickly and is often more cost-effective. If considering surgery, ask your provider if outpatient surgery is right for you.