Also called outpatient surgery or same-day surgery, ambulatory surgery allows a person to return home on the same day that a surgical procedure is performed. Outpatient surgery eliminates inpatient hospital admission, reduces the amount of medication prescribed and uses doctors’ time more efficiently. More procedures are now performed in a surgeon’s office, termed office-based surgery, rather than in an operating room.
Outpatient surgery is suited best for healthy people undergoing minor or intermediate procedures (limited urologic, ophthalmologic, or ear, nose and throat procedures and procedures involving the extremities). Recently, people with more complex medical problems are undergoing outpatient surgery, and the types and complexity of surgical procedures have expanded significantly.
Outpatient surgery has developed over the past three decades because of improved surgical instruments, less-invasive surgical techniques, a team approach in preparing a person for surgery and home recovery that involves both a surgeon and an anesthesiologist and the desire to reduce health carecosts.