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The difference between hospitals and surgical centers

The words “you need surgery” are likely ones that you hope to never have to hear from your doctor in Kew Gardens. Yet in certain cases, surgical intervention may be your best hope at overcoming whatever condition you may be dealing with. As many of those with whom we here at Futterman, Sirotkin and Seinfeld, LLP will tell you, no surgical procedure is routine, and none is without risks. What risks you may face could depend on the type of procedure you have done, as well as the environment that it is performed in.

You may consider any place where you go to receive medical treatment to be a hospital, yet when it comes to surgery, a distinction is made between a hospital and a surgical center. Hospitals support inpatient services, so if your procedure is a complex one that will likely require multiple days for recovery, then it will likely be performed there. However, if the procedure you need can be done on an outpatient basis (where recovery takes less than 24 hours), then you may have it done in a surgical center.

Surgical centers only offer outpatient procedures and limited laboratory and radiological testing. According to Definitive Healthcare, the most common services performed at such facilities include:

  • Cataract surgery
  • Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGDs)
  • Colonoscopies (with biopsies and/or lesion removals)
  • Spinal epidural and facet joint injections
  • Capsulotomies
  • High-risk colorectal screenings

Many of the procedures performed in surgical centers still require the use of anesthesia, from simple conscious sedation to the administration of general anesthesia.

Do not mistake the notion that because surgical centers only offer outpatient services that the procedures performed present no dangers. They too can produce complications that could be life-threatening and could require an extensive hospitalization. You can learn more about potential surgical complications here on our site.

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