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What You Need to Know About Outpatient Surgery
  • Robert Preidt
  • Posted March 10, 2020

What You Need to Know About Outpatient Surgery

It's highly likely that you'll undergo outpatient surgery one day, and there are several things you should know about such procedures, says the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA).

Nearly 50 million outpatient surgeries are performed in the United States each year.

"Complex procedures like total knee replacement, cardiology procedures and spine surgery used to be done almost exclusively in hospitals, but now we have the ability to do them in an outpatient setting, which can include ambulatory surgery centers or in the hospital," said ASA President Dr. Mary Dale Peterson.

"These settings are less expensive and now reimbursed by Medicare. As a result, even more elderly patients are able to have outpatient surgery," Peterson said in a society news release.

As part of Patient Safety Awareness Week, March 8-14, the ASA outlines steps you can take for successful outpatient surgery and recovery:

  • Ensure that all medical personnel involved in your procedure are qualified. If your surgery is in an ambulatory surgery center, it should meet the care standards set by a national accrediting organization such as the Joint Commission or Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care. Ask about emergency protocols.
  • The healthier you are, the faster you recover. In the weeks or months before surgery, be as active as possible, eat right, get enough sleep and avoid smoking, which increases the risk of complications after surgery.
  • Be sure your anesthesia care will be led by a physician anesthesiologist and learn about your anesthesia options. Local or regional anesthesia such as nerve blocks make recovery easier and may reduce the need for opioid painkillers, according to the ASA.
  • Ask what you can eat and drink before surgery and when you should stop.
  • Be sure someone is available to drive you home after your procedure and, ideally, to stay with you afterward.

More information

Johns Hopkins Medicine has more on outpatient surgery.

SOURCE: American Society of Anesthesiologists, news release, March 2020
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