What Are the Different Types of Ambulatory Care Surgery?

Nicole Etolen

Ambulatory care surgery, also referred to as outpatient surgery, is a type of surgical procedure that can performed without admitting the patient into a hospital. These types of surgeries typically have little risk for complications or need for extensive post-operative monitoring. There are many different types, including diagnostic or preventative procedures and surgeries to correct minor issues. Most types of cosmetic surgery are also performed as outpatient procedures.

Many minor surgeries are performed in an ambulatory, or outpatient, setting.
Many minor surgeries are performed in an ambulatory, or outpatient, setting.

Preventative procedures are common types of ambulatory care surgery, and are used by surgeons to help prevent a condition from advancing to stages that are more serious. A colonoscopy, for example, allows surgeons to look inside the large intestine to determine if there are any polyps, or growths, present. If polyps are found, surgeons can typically remove them during the procedure and prevent further complications later on, as some types can become cancerous if left untreated.

Eye surgery is a common type of ambulatory care surgery.
Eye surgery is a common type of ambulatory care surgery.

Diagnostic ambulatory care surgery often goes along with preventative surgery. For example, surgeons perform biopsies to remove a suspicious growth and send to a laboratory to determine if it is malignant, or cancerous. While the biopsy is done for diagnostic purposes, in some cases, removing the growth prevents the potential cancer from spreading further, making it a preventative surgery as well.

Surgeries to correct minor issues can often be performed on an outpatient basis, saving the patient and the facility both time and money. Eye surgery, especially cataract surgery is among the most common types of ambulatory care surgery. Surgeries such as tonsillectomies and kidney stone removal, which used to require an overnight stay in a hospital, are also typically performed on an outpatient basis now.

The majority of basic cosmetic surgery procedures can be performed through ambulatory care surgery. While injectable fillers make up the bulk of procedures, breast implants, liposuction, and other augmentation procedures are also commonly performed on an outpatient basis. Cosmetic outpatient procedures are typically performed at an ambulatory care center that specializes solely in plastic surgery.

In general, ambulatory care surgery is less expensive than inpatient surgery because patients do not have to pay for an overnight stay in the hospital. The types of procedures performed usually require less recovery time than more invasive surgeries that require hospitalization, allowing patients to return home the same day. While the benefits usually outweigh the risks, complications can occur if patients do not receive quality follow-up care after their surgery. It is vital that patients follow all post-operative instructions to avoid increasing the risk of complications.

Cataract surgery is a common ambulatory care surgery.
Cataract surgery is a common ambulatory care surgery.

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