The number of outpatient procedures has been rising steadily over the last 10 years. Just under two-thirds of all surgeries performed in a hospital are now outpatient procedures. This trend is driven by new technologies and research that is minimizing the impact of traditionally invasive procedures. Four medical procedures that once required hospital stays are now performed primarily on an outpatient basis.


4. Knee Surgery

The knees in the body undergo a large amount of stress over the course of a normal lifetime. Muscles and tendons can tear under this type of strain. Knee surgery was traditionally a very difficult and physically taxing procedure. Arthroscopic surgery has turned many of the most common forms of knee surgery into an outpatient procedure. This includes surgery to repair meniscus tears. Arthroscopic surgery allows surgeons to use a small camera on the end of a flexible tube to perform procedures through the smallest incisions possible. The number of outpatient knee surgery procedures has increased by more than 50 percent over the last decade.


3. Mastectomies

Mastectomies once required a stay of anywhere from three to seven days in a hospital after the procedure was completed. Currently, over 95 percent of patients are choosing to undergo a mastectomy on an outpatient basis. Patients can leave the hospital in as little as five hours after the surgery. This is possible because of better technology, tools and medications. Doctors can remove the breast with far less trauma than previously possible. Better drug sequencing and effective modern antibiotics are making outpatient mastectomies safer for many people. Recovery times and secondary complications have decreased with these advances.


2. Liposuction

A number of cosmetic procedures are now performed on an outpatient basis. One of the most common is liposuction. Original liposuction procedures were often traumatic and resulted in bruising and other side effects. Modern techniques that use minimal or non-invasive technologies have developed as doctors performed more research on liposuction. The SmartLipo procedure uses a laser to break down fat below the skin instead of injections. The liquid that results is removed with a syringe through a very small incision. The laser also works to close blood vessels so that swelling and bruising is minimized or avoided altogether. Patients who have this outpatient procedure return to normal daily routines very quickly.


1. Eye Surgeries

Eye surgery was once very difficult even under the best conditions. Modern technology has made many forms of eye surgery safe and accurate. Eye surgeries are now commonly performed in outpatient centers. Computer imaging allows doctors to see precise structures in the eye without invasive surgery. Lasers make it possible to alter the shape of the eye or to make clean incisions even in delicate areas. Better sterilization techniques, anesthetics and antibiotics reduce the chance of infection during the procedure and during recovery at home. Over 99 percent of eye surgeries are now outpatient procedures.

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