What is the difference between inpatient and outpatient surgery?

We frequently hear the terms outpatient or inpatient used when relating to a type of diagnostic or therapeutic procedure. Inpatient surgery requires the patient to be admitted to the hospital, mainly so that he or she can be carefully monitored throughout the procedure and afterward during recovery. Outpatient surgery, however, does not involve an overnight stay at the hospital.

Inpatient surgery refers to a surgical intervention after which the patient has to spend one or several nights in the hospital, where they will receive permanent postoperative care, and their recovery will be carefully monitored. Patients who need to undergo complex surgery or a procedure that entails a prolonged recovery period will often receive inpatient care.

The increasing popularity of outpatient surgery

Due to the recent changes concerning the health insurance system and surgery costs, an increasing number of interventions become ambulatory procedures, also known as outpatient surgeries.

Therefore, outpatient surgery does not involve an overnight stay at the hospital, and the patient can leave soon after the intervention.

The intent of outpatient surgeries is to lower hospitalization costs and save patients’ time.

These procedures have become quite popular lately due to a rise in the number of ambulatory surgery centers and the development of innovative technology that allows medical specialists to perform under improved conditions.

Moreover, the duration of such a procedure is generally shorter, and the risk for subsequent complications is minimal. Approximately 55% of all surgical interventions are outpatient.

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Source: https://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Education/Medical-Library/