Monday, August 18, 2008

The Ups and Downs of Outpatient Procedures: What You Need to Know

How times have changed. Today, from 60 to 70 percent of surgeries are done on an outpatient basis—the patient heads home the same day, often within a few hours of surgery.

As surgeons demonstrate that a particular surgery can be done safely without an overnight stay, insurers may balk at paying for a hospitalization deemed “medically unnecessary.” And physicians have indeed introduced innovations that lead to quicker recovery. Arthroscopic and laparoscopic surgery, for example, use keyhole incisions to insert miniature instruments and a tiny camera or scope to visualize the body’s interior, while short-acting, local anesthetic techniques let patients bounce back to alert functioning more readily.

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