In most cases, outpatient surgery, also known as ambulatory surgery or same-day surgery, is surgery that does not require an overnight hospital stay. Surgery facilities, sometimes called surgicenters, specialize in providing surgery, including certain pain management and diagnostic (e.g., colonoscopy) services in an outpatient setting. Overall, the services provided are generally referred to as "procedures."
Outpatient surgery avoids inpatient hospital admission, reduces the amount of medication prescribed and uses a doctor's time more efficiently. More procedures are now being performed in a surgeon's office, termed office-based surgery, rather than in a hospital operating room.
Outpatient surgery is suited best for healthy people undergoing minor or intermediate procedures (plastic surgery, ob-gyn, limited urologic, ophthalmologic, or ear, nose and throat procedures and procedures involving the extremities). However, health care reform and the Affordable Care Act of 2010 have expanded the types and complexity of surgical procedures, with much of the growth driven by advancements in anesthesia and technology.
Complications in AAAASF accredited outpatient surgery facilities occur less often than in hospitals but patients should always check with their doctor for all information covering preparation for outpatient procedures and post-operative guidance. Patients should also inquire about all ambulatory facilities, surgical centers and physician offices to make sure they are accredited. A Patient Fact Sheet is available for more information.